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Is your family prepared to weather the first three days of a disaster?

Posted April 13, 2018

American Red Cross backpack and emergency supplies
The American Red Cross recommends each household have a backpack with emergency supplies for emergencies.

It’s spring in North Central Texas, and that means residents should be ready for strong thunderstorms, tornados, flash floods, wind damage and hail.

If Mother Nature turns extremely violent and causes massive damage, you might be isolated while first responders work their way to your area. Are you prepared to spend three or more days on your own with no water, power, transportation, medical help, or communication with the outside world?

Being prepared for any type of local hazard is beneficial and might determine how well you and your family fare if a natural or manmade disaster were to strike in Fort Worth. You can improve your odds by building a 72-hour emergency kit and creating communication and evacuation plans now.

Build your family’s kit

A 72-hour emergency kit should include:

  • Food.
  • Water.
  • First aid kit.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries.
  • NOAA All Hazards Weather radio.
  • Cell phone charger, cable and/or fully charged power bank.
  • Dust masks.
  • Personal hygiene and cleaning supplies.
  • Medications (minimum of seven days).
  • Whistle.
  • Tools (plyers, screwdriver, wrench).
  • Important documents (deed, marriage license, birth certificates, Social Security number, driver license, etc.).
  • Cash (small denominations).
  • Can opener.

If you have a family member with a special need, a baby or pet in your family, pack items to meet the needs of that individual or animal, such as medical equipment, bottles and formula, baby food, diapers, wipes, pet food, treats and toys.

Create a communications plan

Know how you will contact family members if you are separated when a disaster strikes:

  • Program family cell phone numbers into your phone. Write them on paper for the emergency kit.
  • Twitter or other social media platforms may prove beneficial if communications are functional.
  • Have an out-of-the-area family member act as a point of contact for family members. It may be easier to contact someone out of town if local communications are compromised.
  • All family members should know where to physically meet in an emergency situation — at a local store, family friend’s home, government building, so on.

Make an evacuation plan for your family

  • Choose several destinations where you can go if you are instructed to evacuate your residence. You may need to simply move across town or perhaps to a location several hundred miles away.
  • Try to have a least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  • Build an emergency kit for your vehicle that includes water, first aid, snacks, important contact numbers, cell phone charger and seasonal items such as sunscreen and insect spray for summer, gloves and blankets for winter.

Get more information on emergency preparedness.

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