- Avoid overloading outlets
- Unplug appliances when not in use to save energy and minimize the risk of shock or fire
- Regularly inspect electrical cords and extension cords for damage
- Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis
- Never plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip
- Never run cords under rugs / carpets, doors, or windows
- Plug in smartly. Make sure cords do not become tripping hazards
- Keep papers and other potential combustibles at least three feet away from space heaters and other heat sources
- Make sure you use proper wattage for lamps / lighting
- Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Test them monthly, change batteries yearly, and replace the unit every 10 years
Electrical sparks can ignite natural gas if it is leaking. Teach all responsible household members how to shut off the electricity.
- Locate you electrical circuit box. For your safety, always shut off all the individual circuits before shutting off the main circuit.
Water quickly becomes a precious resource following many disasters. It is important that everyone in your household learn how to shut off the main water valve to the house.
- Find the shut-off valve for the main water line that enters your house and tag it for easy identification. Make sure everyone in your household knows where it is.
- Make you can shut the valve off completely. Your valve may be rusted open or it may not close all the way. If so replace it.
- Cracked lines may pollute the water supply to your house. It's a good idea to shut off your water until authorities say it's safe to drink.
The effects of gravity may drain the water in your hot water heater and toilet tanks unless you trap it in your house by shutting off the main house valve. (This is not the street valve in the cement box at the curb – the street valve is extremely difficult to turn and requires a special tool.)
Natural gas leaks and explosions cause a significant number of fires after disasters. It's important that all household members know how to shut off natural gas.
There are different gas shut-off procedures for different gas meter configurations, so it's important to call your gas company. They can help you prepare for gas appliances and gas service to your home in the event of an emergency.
All of us should take some simple steps to prepare for and respond to potential emergencies, including those from natural hazards and man-made disasters. Individuals are encouraged to do three key things: get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and appropriate responses.
Everyone should have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive several days if an emergency occurs. Create the kit by considering the unique needs of their family, including pets, for items to include. You should also consider having at least two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and smaller portable kits in their workplace, vehicle or other places they spend time.
Recommended Emergency or Disaster Supply Kit Items
- Water and non-perishable food for several days
- Extra cell phone battery or charger
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio that can receive NOAA Weather Radio tone alerts and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Can opener (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
Additional Items to Consider
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food, water and supplies for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a portable waterproof container
- Cash and change
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies, personal hygiene items and hand sanitizer
- Mess kits, Paper cups, plates and disposable utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children