United Way of Southwest Alabama / Uncategorized  / Be Prepared When Disaster Strikes

Be Prepared When Disaster Strikes

Hurricane season is here and while hurricanes are one of the more severe natural disasters that can impact southwest Alabama, it is not the only one that can strike. Our area is susceptible to tornadoes, fires, floods, and a slew of other natural disasters. However, you do not have to be vulnerable to whims of Mother Nature.

Here are some resources to ensure that you and your family are prepared the next time severe weather strikes:

1)      Create a plan as a family

  • Delegate responsibilities for each member of the family.
  1. FEMA provides an easy-to-fill out Family Emergency Plan that includes cards for each member of the family so they know who to call and where to meet in case of an emergency.
  • Designate a meeting location
  1. In the case of a home fire, identify a location for all family members to meet (such as the mail box or a neighbor’s house)
  2.  In the case of a tornado warning, identify a safe location within your home, preferably an internal room that is windowless and below ground.
  3. In the case of an evacuation, be sure families members are aware of a meeting location and the best route(s) to get there. Be sure to map alternative routes in case of road closures.
  • Plan ahead for your family pets by including pet supplies in your emergency kit.
  1. Also, be sure to know which hotels are pet-friendly in case you have to evacuate or your home loses power for an extended length of time due to the disaster.
  2. Ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that you have a copy of their vaccination documents with you. Most animal shelters require proof of vaccinations prior to admitting animals.
  3. In case your animals get separated from you, be sure that each pet is wearing a collar with an identification tag with current contact information. The best way to ensure your pets find their way back to you is by getting them microchipped.


2)     Designate an out-of-area emergency contact

  • It is important to choose an out-of-area emergency contact, regardless, in the case of natural disasters because it can be easier to make long-distance calls or texts when your local phone lines are overloaded or out-of-service.
  • In the case of an evacuation, family members can contact this person to notify that they are safe and this contact can also act as a meeting location if family members are separated.
  • Your family can also register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for “Disaster” to register yourself and your family.


3)     Construct an Emergency Supply Kit

  • The American Red Cross provides safety checklists in the case of:
  1.  Hurricane
  2. Tornado
  3.  Flood
  • FEMA created a list of basic essential items for any emergency supply kit. They suggest ensuring that your kit has enough supplies to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs.
  • Ensure that your important identification, insurance, and financial documents do not get wet by keeping them in a sealed plastic bag. This also makes it easier to collect the documents quickly in the case of either evacuation or sheltering from a tornado.
  • Lastly, you can always contact 2-1-1 for information regarding local resource s before or after a natural disaster, whether you are in need or wanting to help those in need. Remember, when we all LIVE UNITED, everyone wins!

Just dial 2-1-1 or 1-888-421-1266