Being prepared before a disaster strikes is one of the best ways to make your family and home safer.  The Western Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps and the public health and planning organizations they represent want you to be prepared. Kathleen Conley Norbut, M.Ed., LMHC, Point of Contact (POC)/Liaison for the Western MA MRC Advisory Group and the ten Hampden County MRC units, discusses preparedness strategies in the following video segment:

There are many resources that can provide valuable and in depth information about how to prepare for emergencies, and we encourage you to consult these.  In the meantime, here are some basics of Disaster Planning for Families and Households.

Emergency Supplies – What to have in your Home

  • One gallon of drinking water per person per day for three days
  • Ready-to-eat dry and canned foods with a manual can opener for at least a week
  • First Aid Kit, medicines and prescriptions to last at least a week
  • ABC Fire Extinguishers, smoke detectors
  • Flashlights, battery operated radios and extra batteries, candles, matches
  • Plastic sheets, duct tape, matches, candles and other supplies and tools
  • Personal products like soap, feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.
  • Fill your bathtub before the water goes off. Use water from toilet tanks and hot water tanks if needed.
  • Consider a generator or other emergency power supply
  • Consider sources of back-up heat.
  • Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach and an eyedropper (for disinfecting water if directed to do so by the Health Department.- 2-4 drops per quart clear water, stir and let stand 30 minutes. Should smell like bleach.)

Household Disaster Plan

  • Exits – Make sure everyone knows multiple, safe ways to exit your building
  • Meeting Place – Decide where your family will meet in the event you are separated. Have a back up meeting place away from your home. Make sure everyone knows the addresses and telephone numbers of these backup meeting places.
  • Communications – Make sure everyone knows the phone number of a long distance friend or relative to act as a contact point. Long distance phone lines often work when local lines are busy. Make sure everyone knows how to use an email contact.
  • Special Needs Planning– Your family may include small children, elders, a physically or mentally handicapped person, non-English speakers, and other individuals requiring additional assistance.   Preparedness is vital for individuals with access and functional needs.
  • Animals and Pets  – Pets may not be accepted at most shelters. Keep a Pet Go-Bag with leashes, immunization records, toys and snacks for your pets with a list of shelters or friends that have agreed to keep pets.  Learn  more about Disaster Animal Response Teams.
  • Emergency PlansWrite down your plans. Include how to turn off your water, gas, furnace, and electricity. Make a copy for everyone in your family, including your relatives and friends. Post a copy in your house.
  • Community Emergency Plans – Ask to see a copy of your schools’, workplaces’, and community’s Emergency Plans. Be familiar with the emergency information procedures.