Emergency Management News

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Simple Steps for Earthquake Preparedness

Drop, Cover, and Hold On
August 24 marked the anniversary of the 2011 East Coast earthquake. While earthquakes may be more prevalent in some areas than others, they can happen anywhere and are unpredictable.

Taking steps ahead of time to protect yourself in the event of an earthquake is vital in reducing injuries and loss of life. The vast majority of injuries during an earthquake occur because of flying glass and falling objects. Stay safe with these tips from Prepareathon’s How to Prepare for an Earthquake guide:
  • Prepare your home for an earthquake by securing all items that could fall and cause injuries (e.g. bookshelves, mirrors, light fixtures).
  • Practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On under a desk or table. Watch the When the Earth Shakes video for more information on what to do if an earthquake happens while you are inside, outside, or driving.
  • Plan how you will communicate with family members by making a family emergency communication plan.
  • When the shaking stops, look around. If there is a clear path to safety, leave the building and go to an open space away from any damage.

For more tips on earthquake preparedness, visit www.ready.gov/earthquakes.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

National Prepareathon Day September 15 #NatlPrep

Prepareathon Logo
Disasters and emergencies raise our awareness of the need to prepare ourselves, our families, and our communities for the types of disasters that can affect us. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are reminders that disasters are often unpredictable. 

While September is National Preparedness Month, September 15 is National Prepareathon™ Day, which aims to highlight the preparedness actions that individuals, families, and organizations completed over the past year.

Sit down with your loved ones to take stock of your preparedness efforts and consider taking the following actions:
  • Talk with your family and neighbors about planning for an emergency and identify an out-of-town emergency contact that can help your household reconnect if a disaster affects you. 
  • Consider the costs associated with disasters such as insurance deductibles and evacuation costs, and plan for those costs. Anticipate initial out-of-pocket disaster expenses for lodging, food, gas, and more. Check your insurance coverage to make sure you are protected against the risks you face. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage or losses from flooding.
  • Consider starting a savings account, if you do not have one already, to help you recover from an emergency or disaster. Use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to get started. The EFFAK is a flexible tool designed to help individuals and families at all income levels collect and secure the documentation they would need to get on the road to recovery without unnecessary delays, should disaster strike.
  • Download the FEMA app, which allows you to sign up for weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the country. Also, sign up for local alerts and warning systems your community may have. 
  • Learn where your community’s shelters are located (and whether or not they are pet-friendly).
  • Practice using your community’s evacuation routes should you be required to leave – this way, you know exactly where you would go, how to get there, and what to do if an emergency occurs.

To participate in National Prepareathon Day and share your achievements with the rest of the Nation, register your preparedness action on the Prepareathon website and post about your success on social media with the hashtags #HowIPrepare or #HowWePrepare.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Avoiding Disaster Fraud

FEMA Credentials
After a disaster, many community-based organizations come together to support the needs of those affected. Unfortunately, individuals with ulterior motives may also prey on those disaster survivors by offering fraudulent services.

Learn how to protect yourself and your finances from additional loss. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers reminders to help you avoid disaster fraud, including:
  • Do not pay a fee to apply for FEMA disaster assistance or to receive it. FEMA does not charge a fee for these services.
  • Get three written estimates for repair work. Check credentials, and contact your local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to learn about any complaints against the contractor or business.
  • Make sure you obtain a written contract detailing all necessary services and costs before work begins. The contract should also have a projected completion date and outline ways to negotiate changes and settle disputes.
  • Pay only by check or a credit card. A reasonable down payment may be required to buy materials for some projects, but do not pay anything without a signed contract.  

Be sure to check out the full list of disaster fraud tips and stay vigilant when disaster strikes. To register for FEMA disaster assistance, call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) or visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.