When an Emergency Strikes

During and after an emergency occurs, it is important to stay calm. Even after an event, there may still be dangers. What seems like a safe distance or location may not be. Monitor emergency information disseminated by local media and follow the advice of trained professionals. Unless told to evacuate, avoid roads to allow emergency vehicle access. What you do next can save your life and the lives of others.

During an emergency you might be cut off from food, water, and electricity for several days or more. If power is out, cafeterias and food stores may be closed and your water supply may not work. Here are some suggestions:

Water: If a disaster catches you without a supply of clean water, you can use ice cubes and the water in your hot water tank or pipes. If it is safe to go outside, you can also purify water from rainwater, ponds and lakes by boiling (for 5 minutes), distilling or disinfecting. To purify water with bleach, use 10 drops of bleach per gallon of water. Use only regular household bleach that contains only 5.25% sodium hypochlorite.

Food: During and right after an emergency, it will be important that you keep up your strength by eating at least one well-balanced meal each day. Take vitamin, mineral and/or protein supplements.

If Your Power Goes Out:

  • Remain calm, and assist others who may be vulnerable if exposed to extreme heat or cold
  • Locate a flashlight with batteries to use until power comes back on. Do not use candles -- this can cause a fire
  • Turn off sensitive electric equipment such as computers, DVDs and televisions
  • Turn off major electric appliances that were on when the power went off. This will help to prevent power surges when electricity is restored
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep cold in and heat out
  • Do not use the stove to heat your residence -- this can cause a fire or fatal gas leak
  • Use extreme caution when driving. If traffic signals are out, treat each signal as a stop sign
  • Do not call 911 to ask about the power outage. Listen to a battery operated radio for updates.