Preparing for Severe Weather

flooded streetBelow is information on the possible ways you may be notified of severe weather and a possible emergency situation. You can also check the National Weather Service Forecast Website.

  1. Commercial radio and television stations.
  2. Weather radios. These special radios provide the earliest warning with an alarm that will alert you in case of anticipated bad weather. The Marion, IL station is WXM-49 at 162.425 MHZ. To learn more, call your local office of Emergency Management usually listed under Government in the telephone yellow pages.
  3. Door to door warning from local emergency officials such as police or firemen. Strictly follow their instructions!
  4. Be aware of anyone in your neighborhood who may need special help during an emergency. If available and you need special help, take advantage of advance registration systems in your area by calling your local office of Emergency Management usually listed under Government in the telephone yellow pages.

Plan Ahead!

The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. By planning ahead you can avoid waiting in long lines for critical supplies, such as food, water, and medicine. Remember to review your plan regularly.

Use the following checklist to get started:

  1. Assemble emergency supplies.
  2. Arrange for someone to check on you.
  3. Plan and practice the best escape routes from your home.
  4. Plan for transportation if you need to evacuate to an emergency shelter.
  5. Find the safe places in your home from such disasters as a tornado.
  6. Have a plan to signal the need for help, especially if the phone is not working.
  7. Post emergency phone numbers near the phone.
  8. If you have in-home or home health care services, plan ahead with your agencies for emergency procedures.
  9. Teach those who may need to assist you in an emergency, how to operate necessary equipment like wheelchairs and oxygen. Be sure they will be able to reach you during an emergency.

Emergency Supplies Kit

For your safety and comfort, you need to have emergency supplies packed and ready in one place before disaster hits. You should assemble enough supplies to last for at least 3 days.

Assemble the following supplies you would need and store them in an easy-to-carry container such as a back pack or duffel bag. Be sure your bag has an ID tag. Label any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers that you would need.

For your medical needs, include:

  1. First-aid kit.
  2. Prescription medicines, list of medications including dosage, list of any allergies.
  3. Extra eyeglasses and hearing aid batteries.
  4. Extra wheelchair batteries.
  5. List of style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers.
  6. Medical insurance and Medicare numbers.
  7. List of doctors and relative or friend who should be notified if you are injured.
  8. Any other items you may need.

General supplies include:

  1. Battery powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries.
  2. Change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
  3. Blanket or sleeping bag.
  4. Extra set of keys.
  5. Cash, credit cards, change for the pay phone.
  6. Personal hygiene supplies.
  7. Personal numbers of local and non-local relatives or friends.
  8. Insurance agents name and number.
  9. Plastic garbage bags.

For some disasters, you may be ordered to stay in your own home. For these you may also need:

  1. Bottled water, one gallon per day per person. Plan for 3 days. Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers that you are able to handle. Identify the storage date and replace them every 6 months.
  2. Non-perishable food, including any special foods you require. Choose foods that are easy to store and carry. Include nutritious and ready-to-eat foods. Rotate them regularly.
  3. Manual can opener you are able to use without electricity.
  4. Non-perishable food for your pets.

Shelter from Disasters

distroyed apartmentIn some emergencies, such as a tornado, chemical spill, or heavy smoke alerts, you may be told to remain indoors. This means staying where you are and making yourself as safe as possible until the emergency passes or you are ordered to evacuate. In this situation it may be safer to remain indoors than to go outside unless you are told to evacuate the area.

If you are told to stay indoors:

  1. Close all windows in the home.
  2. Turn off all fans, heating, and air conditioning systems that draw in air from outside.
  3. Close the fireplace damper.
  4. For a chemical spill or heavy smoke alert, go to an above ground floor (not the basement) to a room with the fewest windows and doors that is away from the danger. Wet some towels and jam them in the crack under the doors. Tape around doors, windows, exhaust fans or vents. Use plastic garbage bags to cover windows, outlets and heat registers.
  5. Take your Emergency Supplies Kit with you.
  6. If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds or curtains. To avoid injury, stay away from the windows.
  7. Stay in the room and listen to your radio until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.

In some disasters, shelters may be designated, especially if the disaster is expected to last several days, such as a flood. Be prepared to go to the shelter if you are without electricity, flood waters threaten your home, your home has been severely damaged from storms, or the police or other local officials tell you to evacuate.

If you are told to evacuate your home:

  1. Coordinate with your in-home and home health care providers for evacuation procedures.
  2. Try to car pool.
  3. If you must have assistance for special transportation call your local officials or in-home care provider.
  4. Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes.
  5. Take your Emergency Supplies Kit.
  6. Lock your home.
  7. Use the travel routes specified by officials or special assistance provided by local officials. Don't take short cuts, they may be unsafe.
  8. Notify shelter authorities of any needs you may have. They will do their best to accommodate you and make you comfortable.

If you have time:

  1. Shut off water, gas, and electricity if instructed to do so and if you know how. Gas must be turned back on by a professional.
  2. Let others know when you will leave and where you are going.
  3. Make arrangements for your pets. Animals, other than working animals for the disabled, may not be allowed in public shelters.


Before there is a fire in your home:

  1. Plan 2 escape routes out of each room. If you cannot use stairways, make special arrangements for help in advance. Never use elevators during a fire.
  2. Sleep with the bedroom door closed. This gives you extra minutes of protection from toxic fumes and fire.
  3. Test your smoke detector battery regularly, and as a reminder, change batteries on the same day of each year. Vacuum it occasionally to remove dust.

In case of fire:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Drop to the floor and crawl. Most fire fatalities are due to breathing toxic fumes and smoke. The cleanest air is near the floor. Breathing toxic fumes and smoke is more dangerous than the risk of injury in getting to the floor quickly.
  3. If your smoke detector goes off, never waste time to get dressed or collect valuables or pets. Get out of the house immediately. Feel any door knob before you open it. If it is hot, find another way out.
  4. Do not try to fight the fire. Call for help from a neighbors phone. Never go back into a burning building for any reason.
  5. If your clothes catch on fire, drop to the floor and roll to suffocate the fire. Keep rolling as running while on fire only fans the flames and makes it worst.
  6. If you are in a wheelchair or can not get out of your house, stay by the window near the floor. If you are able, signal the need for help.

Tips for Grandparents

Grandchildren often visit while others live regularly with their grandparents. The following safety advice for children can help grandparents prepare a safe environment at home for young children:

  1. Store matches and lighters up high, away from children.
  2. Move cleaning chemicals like cleaners, soap, drain cleaner, and other poisons to high cupboards or install a child-proof lock if you must keep these items in low cabinets.
  3. Store prescription medicines and over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, cough medicine, and stomachache remedies in a cabinet out of reach of children.
  4. If children are playing outside or in a pool when skies grow dark or you hear thunder, ask them to come indoors right away.
  5. Always supervise children playing near or in swimming pools.
  6. Install appropriate plastic covers over all exposed electrical outlets.

Children can help grandparents, too. Have them test your smoke detectors in your home to make sure they are working by using a broom handle to push the test button. See that the battery is changed in each detector that doesn't work. Ask children to draw a floor plan of your home and show 2 ways out of every room.

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