THE FOLLOWING INFO IS COURTESY OF F.E.M.A (Federal Emergency
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM:
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
Listen to the radio or television for information.
Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a
flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions
Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to
flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such
typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move
essential items to an upper floor.
Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so.
Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you
are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you
fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use
a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car,
abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and
the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
Driving Flood Facts
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing
loss of control and possible stalling.
A foot of water will float many vehicles.
Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport
utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
After a Flood
The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:
Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is
safe to drink.
Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw
sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed
Avoid moving water.
Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened
and could collapse under the weight of a car.
Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage,
particularly in foundations.
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon
as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can
contain sewage and chemicals.
During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
|If you are in:
|A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school,
nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
||Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room,
basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no
basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet,
interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put
as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy
table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
|A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home
||Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy,
nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer
little protection from tornadoes.
|The outside with no shelter
||Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your
head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck.
Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most
fatalities and injuries.
Preparing a Safe Room
Extreme windstorms in many parts of the country pose a serious threat to
buildings and their occupants. Your residence may be built “to code,” but that
does not mean it can withstand winds from extreme events such as tornadoes and
major hurricanes. The purpose of a safe room or a wind shelter is to provide a
space where you and your family can seek refuge that provides a high level of
protection. You can build a safe room in one of several places in your home.
- Your basement.
- Atop a concrete slab-on-grade foundation or garage floor.
- An interior room on the first floor.
Safe rooms built below ground level provide the greatest protection, but a
safe room built in a first-floor interior room also can provide the necessary
protection. Below-ground safe rooms must be designed to avoid accumulating water
during the heavy rains that often accompany severe windstorms.
- To protect its occupants, a safe room must be built to withstand high
winds and flying debris, even if the rest of the residence is severely damaged
or destroyed. Consider the following when building a safe room:
- The safe room must be adequately anchored to resist overturning and
- The walls, ceiling, and door of the shelter must withstand wind pressure
and resist penetration by windborne objects and falling debris.
- The connections between all parts of the safe room must be strong enough
to resist the wind.
- Sections of either interior or exterior residence walls that are used as
walls of the safe room, must be separated from the structure of the residence
so that damage to the residence will not cause damage to the safe room.
Additional information about Safe Rooms available from FEMA:
Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House. L-233.
Brochure providing details about obtaining information about how to build a
wind-safe room to withstand tornado, hurricane, and other high winds.
Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House.
FEMA-320. Manual with detailed information about how to build a wind-safe room
to withstand tornado, hurricane, and other high winds.
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
- Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the
best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8”
marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the
frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Consider building a safe room.
During a Hurricane
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or
bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the
refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.· Avoid using the phone, except for serious
- Moor your boat if time permits.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and
flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are
particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the
- If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher
- If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland
- If you feel you are in danger.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not
have one, follow these guidelines:
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it
could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
|If you are:
|In a forest
||Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small
|In an open area
||Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for
|On open water
||Get to land and find shelter immediately.
|Anywhere you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates
that lightning is about to strike)
||Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place
your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself
the smallest target possible and minimize your contact it the ground. DO NOT
lie flat on the ground.
After a Thunderstorm
Call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible.
The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a
victim of lightning:
- Breathing - if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Heartbeat - if the heart has stopped, administer CPR.
- Pulse - if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other
possible injuries. Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the
body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of
hearing and eyesight.
The following are guidelines for what you should do during a winter storm or
under conditions of extreme cold:
- Listen to your radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather
reports and emergency information.
- Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart
attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch
before going outside.
- Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or
pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip
of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering,
memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and
apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim
to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first,
and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical
help as soon as possible.
- Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal.
Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of
toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet
from flammable objects.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, consider the
- Travel in the day, don’t travel alone, and keep others informed of your
- Stay on main roads; avoid back road shortcuts
If a blizzard traps you in the car, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from
the radio antenna or window.
- Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not
set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can
take shelter. Be careful; distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building
may seem close, but be too far to walk to in deep snow.
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When
the engine is running, open an upwind window slightly for ventilation. This
will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clear
snow from the exhaust pipe.
- Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold,
use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with
passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
- Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs -
the use of lights, heat, and radio - with supply.
- Turn on the inside light at night so work crews or rescuers can see you.
- If stranded in a remote area, stomp large block letters in an open area
spelling out HELP or SOS and line with rocks or tree limbs to attract the
attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying the area by airplane.
- Leave the car and proceed on foot - if necessary - once the blizzard
During a Heat Emergency
The following are guidelines for what you should do if the weather is
- Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
- Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not
- Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as
libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community
facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration
rate of evaporation.
- Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets
unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or
liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid
retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover
as much skin as possible.
- Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning
and who spend much of their time alone.
- Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
- Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy
system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
First Aid for Heat-Induced Illnesses
Extreme heat brings with it the possibility of heat-induced illnesses. The
following table lists these illnesses, their symptoms, and the first aid
||Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever,
||Take a shower using soap to remove oils that may block
pores, preventing the body from cooling naturally.
Apply dry, sterile dressings to any blisters, and get medical attention.
||Painful spasms, usually in leg and abdominal muscles; heavy
||Get the victim to a cooler location.
Lightly stretch and gently massage affected muscles to relieve spasms.
Give sips of up to a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. (Do not give
liquids with caffeine or alcohol.)
Discontinue liquids, if victim is nauseated.
||Heavy sweating but skin may be cool, pale, or flushed. Weak
pulse. Normal body temperature is possible, but temperature will likely
rise. Fainting or dizziness, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and headaches are
||Get victim to lie down in a cool place.
Loosen or remove clothing.
Apply cool, wet clothes.
Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place.
Give sips of water if victim is conscious.
Be sure water is consumed slowly.
Give half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.
Discontinue water if victim is nauseated.
Seek immediate medical attention if vomiting occurs.
( a severe medical emergency)
|High body temperature (105+); hot, red, dry skin; rapid,
weak pulse; and rapid shallow breathing. Victim will probably not sweat
unless victim was sweating from recent strenuous activity. Possible
||Call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services, or get the victim
to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
Move victim to a cooler environment.
Try a cool bath, sponging, or wet sheet to reduce body temperature.
Watch for breathing problems.
Use extreme caution.
Use fans and air conditioners.
During an Earthquake
Minimize your movements during an earthquake to a few steps to a nearby
safe place. Stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting
|If you are
||Take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or bench
or against an inside wall, and hold on. If there isn’t a table or desk near
you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner
of the building.
Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that
could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
Stay in bed - if you are there when the earthquake strikes - hold on and
protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture
that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you
know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
Stay inside until shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Most injuries
during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling objects when
entering into or exiting from buildings.
Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire
alarms may turn on.
DO NOT use the elevators.
Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
|In a moving vehicle
||Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in
the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and
Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped, watching for road and
|Trapped under debris
||Do not light a match.· Do not move about or
kick up dust.
Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is
available. Shout only as a last resort - shouting can cause you to inhale
dangerous amounts of dust.
After an Earthquake
- Be prepared for aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less
violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage
to weakened structures.
- Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
- Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically
requested by police, fire, or relief organizations.
- Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also
known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”). When local
authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves
is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
During a Volcanic Eruption
The following are guidelines for what to do if a volcano erupts in your
- Evacuate immediately from the volcano area to avoid flying debris, hot
gases, lateral blast, and lava flow.
- Be aware of mudflows. The danger from a mudflow increases near stream
channels and with prolonged heavy rains. Mudflows can move faster than you can
walk or run. Look upstream before crossing a bridge, and do not cross the
bridge if mudflow is approaching.
- Avoid river valleys and low-lying areas.
Protection from Falling Ash
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.· Use goggles and war eyeglasses
instead of contact lenses.
- Use a dust mask or hold a damp cloth over your face to help with
- Stay away from areas downwind from the volcano to avoid volcanic ash.
- Stay indoors until the ash has settled unless there is a danger of the
- Close doors, windows, and all ventilation in the house (chimney vents,
furnaces, air conditioners, fans, and other vents.
- Clear heavy ash from flat or low-pitched roofs and rain gutters.
- Avoid running car or truck engines. Driving can stir up volcanic ash that
can clog engines, damage moving parts, and stall vehicles.
- Avoid driving in heavy ash fall unless absolutely required. If you have to
drive, keep speed down to 35 MPH or slower.
Recognize Landslide Warning
- Changes occur in your landscape such as patterns of storm-water drainage
on slopes (especially the places where runoff water converges) land movement,
small slides, flows, or progressively leaning trees.
- Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time.
- New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
- Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
- Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas
such as streets or driveways.
- Underground utility lines break.
- Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.
- Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.
- Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
- A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the
- The ground slopes downward in one direction and may begin shifting in that
direction under your feet.
- Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together,
might indicate moving debris.
- Collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indications of possible
debris flow can be seen when driving (embankments along roadsides are
particularly susceptible to landslides).
During a Landslide or Debris Flow
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a landslide or
debris flow occurs:
- Move away from the path of a landslide or debris flow as quickly as
- Curl into a tight ball and protect your head if escape is not possible.
After a Landslide or Debris Flow
The following are guidelines for the period following a landslide:
- Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional slides.
- Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the
direct slide area. Direct rescuers to their locations.
- Watch for associated dangers such as broken electrical, water, gas, and
sewage lines and damaged roadways and railways.
- Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of
ground cover can lead to flash flooding and additional landslides in the near
- Seek advice from a geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or
designing corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk.
- Follow the instructions for returning home in Part 5.
During a Tsunami
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a tsunami is likely
in your area:
- Turn on your radio to learn if there is a tsunami warning if an earthquake
occurs and you are in a coastal area.
- Move inland to higher ground immediately and stay there.
|CAUTION - If there is noticeable recession in
water away from the shoreline this is nature's tsunami warning and it should
be heeded. You should move away immediately.
After a Tsunami
The following are guidelines for the period following a tsunami:
- Stay away from flooded and damaged areas until officials say it is safe to
- Stay away from debris in the water; it may pose a safety hazard to boats
During a Fire
If your clothes catch on fire, you should:
To escape a fire, you should:
Check closed doors for heat before you open them. If you are escaping
through a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the
door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame before you
open it. Never use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat -
burning those areas could impair your ability to escape a fire (i.e.,
ladders and crawling).
|Do not open. Escape through a window. If you cannot escape,
hang a white or light-colored sheet outside the window, alerting fire
fighters to your presence.
||Open slowly and ensure fire and/or smoke is not blocking
your escape route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door
immediately and use an alternate escape route, such as a window. If clear,
leave immediately through the door and close it behind you. Be prepared to
crawl. Smoke and heat rise. The air is clearer and cooler near the floor.
- Crawl low under any smoke to your exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases
collect first along the ceiling.
- Close doors behind you as you escape to delay the spread of the fire.
- Stay out once you are safely out. Do not reenter. Call 9-1-1.
After a Fire
The following are guidelines for different circumstances in the period
following a fire:
- If you are with burn victims, or are a burn victim yourself, call 9-1-1;
cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.
- If you detect heat or smoke when entering a damaged building, evacuate
- If you are a tenant, contact the landlord.
- If you have a safe or strong box, do not try to open it. It can hold
intense heat for several hours. If the door is opened before the box has
cooled, the contents could burst into flames.
- If you must leave your home because a building inspector says the building
is unsafe, ask someone you trust to watch the property during your absence.
- Follow the instructions for recovering from a disaster in Part 5.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THE F.E.M.A. WEBSITE: