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Emergency Preparedness for the Entire Community

The impact and repercussions of a disaster are often felt across entire regions or areas, with people throughout the community facing different circumstances and challenges depending on where they are when the disaster strikes. Emergency preparedness demands that we plan and practice for disasters in our homes, schools, churches, businesses, and beyond. Make yourself aware of the special considerations that affect you, your loved ones, and your community with the guidelines below.

Home Emergency Preparation

Communication and practice are vital to preparing your house and family for disaster.

  • Make an emergency supply kit for your home, car, and work
  • Establish a family communication plan.
  • Keep an emergency radio in your home and know how to find the emergency broadcast station.
  • Conduct drills with your family once a year (and each time you move) for the natural threats specific to your area.

Business Continuity Planning

Many Americans spend most of their waking hours at work, making it a likely emergency shelter when disaster strikes.

  • A clear chain of command should be defined, addressing the roles personnel will fill in the event of an emergency. This will eliminate confusion and streamline communications during a crisis.
  • There should be a strong evacuation plan in place, with personnel on site who know how to shut off central heating or air in case of an outbreak.
  • There should be plenty of supplies on hand. If employees are stranded at work, they will need food and water.
  • Find out whether an all hazards assessment has been conducted at your workplace. This helps identify workplace vulnerabilities so effective mitigation tactics can be developed. A full-service security company can provide more information.

Campus Safety Planning

Choosing your child's school carefully will provide you with peace of mind when a crisis occurs.

  • Ask campus administration about plans for communication during a crisis. If your child is enrolled in a university, encourage him or her to subscribe to the school's alert network.
  • Make sure your child's school conducts frequent drills to teach students about appropriate emergency response.
  • Don't attempt to retrieve your child from school if your area is on lockdown—the protection policies in place make school the safest place to be.

Planning for Pet Safety

Four-legged family members require careful planning for accommodation, feeding, and safety.

  • Stock newspapers, moist food, and extra water in case pets need to stay inside during an emergency. Moist food allows the pet to drink less water.
  • Locate a kennel or temporary animal shelter in your designated relief spot, as many emergency shelters and hotels do not allow pets.
  • Avoid leaving your pets at home while you evacuate. If you must leave your pets at home, leave them inside with plenty of food and water, not chained outside.

Planning for Special Needs

The elderly and the disabled face especially dangerous challenges during emergency situations.

  • Build a support network for each person—designate several individuals such as relatives, caregivers, or teachers to care for the person in case immediate family members cannot reach him or her when disaster strikes.
  • Determine the abilities of the special needs individual and decide whether he or she needs help communicating, walking, driving, etc. Make sure the individual is always near someone who can help in critical situations.
  • Equip special needs individuals with emergency alert devices to summon assistance. If the individual requires special medications, oxygen, or other supplies, make sure to keep large quantities of these materials at home in an accessible area.

Planning for a Group

Many families and individuals spend hours each week in places of worship, recreational facilities, and activity centers, so these facilities need to stand ready to respond to emergencies.

  • Ask about your organization's evacuation plan and emergency supplies. If many people attend the organization's events, the venue should be properly outfitted with emergency exits and should be able to safely accommodate crowds.
  • Think about volunteering to create or review a preparedness plan for your organization. An evacuation plan or fully stocked emergency supply closets can make a big difference for those stranded during an unexpected crisis.

Emergency Responders

While law enforcement agencies, fire departments, medical professionals, and other first responders are responsible for the community, their own families need protection as well.

  • Designate a spouse, friend, or relative to contact your family and lead them to safety if you are called to respond to a threat or event in the area.
  • Store emergency kits in your family's home and vehicles so they will have access to supplies if you are unavailable.

Tribal Safety

For communities not involved with the nation's federal government and outside organizations, help can be hard to reach when disaster hits.

  • Learn about the different threats your area faces and develop a response policy for each one. Find out whether it is best to evacuate or shelter in place.
  • Know how to contact FEMA's Tribal Liaison for your tribe's area. These individuals are available through FEMA's Intergovernmental Affairs Office and can help conduct emergency planning and funding for your tribe.
  • Make sure your tribe has an electronic communication network in place, particularly in areas with spotty Internet or cellular coverage.

About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.

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