GENERAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Develop a home evacuation plan and practice it with your family and neighbors. Know what to do if you are instructed to evacuate your home or community.
* Every child and other member of your family should know exactly how to get out of your home in case of fire or other emergency.
* Find at least two ways out of each room of your home if possible.
* If you live in an apartment building, know the evacuation plan.
* Agree on a place nearby to meet once everyone gets out of the house or apartment.
* Plan how to take care of pets. Remember that, with the exception of guide dogs, shelters usually do not allow pets.
* Learn how to shut off utilities such as gas, electricity and water.
Teach your family and friends to be aware when opening the mail. Signs of suspicious mail include the following:
* It is unexpected or from someone you don’t know.
* It is addressed to someone no longer at your address.
* It is handwritten, has no return address, or bears a return address that you cannot confirm is legitimate.
* It is lopsided or lumpy in appearance.
* It has wires or other unusual contents that are protruding or can be felt through the envelope or wrapping.
* It is sealed with excessive amounts of tape.
* It is marked with restrictive endorsements such as ” Personal” or ” Confidential”.
* It has excessive postage.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WITH A SUSPICIOUS PIECE OF MAIL
* Do not handle a letter or package that you suspect is contaminated.
* Stay away from the package and don’t shake it, bump it, or sniff it.
* Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling.
* Notify local law enforcement authorities immediately.
ON YOUR COMPUTER
Teach your family about cyber safety and use of the internet. Many Americans do not know that their computer systems are used to launch attacks against government and industry, often to steal or destroy information such as financial data or even personal identities. To protect yourself, do the following:
* Be aware of strangers
* Report unusual activities to the authorities.
* Use passwords that cannot be easily guessed
* Make regular backups of critical data.
* Use virus protection software
* Use a firewall as a gatekeeper between your computer and the Internet.
* Disconnect computers from the Internet when they are not in use.
* Regularly download security patches from your software vendors.
FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Preparing your family means making sure that children know what to do during an emergency. Tell them what is important so that they feel confident about what to do.
* Teach children to stay in touch. Make it a house rule for your children to check in with a parent or guardian immediately when they get home.
* Make sure children know how to contact you at work.
* Make sure children know their address and their home phone number.
* Work with trusted neighbors to find places that are safe for children and teens to go in an emergency.
* Explain 9-1-1. Talk to children about how to call 9-1-1 and when calling is appropriate.
* Teach children and teens how to be safe. Tell them to seek help immediately from a teacher, law enforcement officer, or other security personnel if they overhear classmates threatening to hurt themselves or others.
(CONTINUED NEXT WEEK)