After a major disaster, emergency response services may not be
available to immediately respond to everyone's needs, so it's
important to be prepared to take care of yourself and your
family. Plan to be on your own for at least the first 72 hours.
The following steps will help you prepare for any emergency:
- Designate an out-of-area contact person.
Try to select someone that is far enough away to not be
affected by the same emergency. Provide this person with the
names and contact information of the people you want to keep
informed of your situation. Instruct family members to call
this person and tell them where they are. Long distance phone
service is often restored sooner than local service.
- Duplicate important documents and keep copies
off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with
someone you trust. Documents may include: passport, drivers
license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial
statements, insurance information, marriage license and
- Inventory valuables, in writing and with photographs
or video. Keep copies of this information off-site
with your other important documents.
- Involve all key people in planning.
- Put together a disaster supply kit. Plan
to have supplies for yourself and your family for at least 3
days following a disaster.
- When planning, consider the special needs
of children, seniors and people with functional needs and
family members that don't speak English. Don't forget your
Talk with your family about potential disasters and why it's necessary to prepare for them. Involve each member of your family in the planning process. By showing them simple steps that can increase their safety, you can help reduce their anxiety about emergencies.
- Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply
kit and Go
Bag as defined in the Build
- Have a flashlight and a pair of shoes under everyone's bed
in case there is an earthquake during the night.
- Plan where to meet after a disaster if your home becomes
unsafe. Choose two places, one just outside your home and one
outside your neighborhood in case you are told to evacuate. Be
sure your gas tank is always at least half full.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to
identify two escape routes.
- Make sure each member of your family knows who your family's
out-of-state contact is and instruct them to call this person
and tell him/her where they are.
- Locate the gas main and other utilities and make sure family
members know when and how to turn them off.
- Practice your evacuation routes, Drop, Cover & Hold and
Stop, Drop & Roll drills.
- Teach each member of your family how to use a fire
- Create emergency response cards for each of your family members.
Get to know your neighbors. Find out if anyone has specialized equipment, like a power generator or expertise such as medical knowledge that might help in a crisis. Make arrangements to check on your neighbor's home or pets if you are home, while they are away, when a disaster strikes.
During a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause injury or damage. There are simple steps you can take to make your home safer. Start by viewing each room with a "disaster eye" and identify potential hazards - bookshelves that could tip over in an earthquake and block exits or heavy objects that could fall and cause injury.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and
change batteries every 6 months.
- Move beds away from windows.
- Move mirrors and heavy pictures away from couches or places
where people sit.
- Clear hallways and exits for easy evacuation.
- Store heavy items on the lowest shelves.
- Keep an ABC type fire extinguisher on each level and know
how and when to use it.
- Strap down your water heater and fit all gas appliances with
a flexible gas supply line.
- Store flammable or highly reactive chemicals (such as
bleach, ammonia and paint thinners) securely and separate from
- Secure pictures and wall hangings and use restraints to
secure heavy items such as bookcases and file cabinets.
- Know how and when to switch off your utilities.
- Ensure that all window safety bars have emergency
- Be sure your home number is visible from the street so
emergency vehicles can find you.
- Include your children in family discussions and planning for
- Teach your children their basic personal information so they
can identify themselves and get help if they become separated
from a parent or guardian.
- Prepare an emergency card with information for each child,
including his/her full name, address, phone number, and
parent's work number and out of state contact.
- Know the policies of the school or daycare center your
children attend. Make plans to have someone pick them up if
you are unable to get to them.
- Regularly update your child's school with current emergency
contact information and persons authorized to pick up your
child from school.
- Make sure each child knows the family's alternate meeting
sites if you are separated in a disaster and cannot return to
- Make sure each child knows how to reach your family's
out-of-state contact person.
- Teach children to dial their home telephone number and
- Teach children what gas smells like and advise them to tell
an adult if they smell gas after an emergency.
- Warn children never to touch wires on poles or wires that
are lying on the ground.
- Role-play with children to help them remain calm in
emergencies and to practice basic emergency responses such as
evacuation routes, Drop, Cover & Hold and Stop, Drop &
- Role-play with children as to what they should do if a
parent is suddenly sick or injured.
- Role-play with children on what to say when calling
- Include a family picture and a favorite toy, game or book
for each child in his/her Go
Bag as defined in the Build
- Include your child's emergency card and include information
on reunification locations and out-of-area contact.
- Provide comfort food and treats for each child in your
family disaster supplies kit.
- Keep a recent photo of your children in your Go bag.
- Set up a Personal Support Network:
Designate someone to check on you in an emergency and to help
with evacuation or sheltering-in-place.
- Prepare and carry with you an emergency health
information card: This will help you to communicate
if you are found unconscious or incoherent. Include
information about your medications, adaptive equipment, blood
type, allergies and sensitivities, insurance numbers,
immunization dates, communication difficulties and preferred
treatment, as well as contact information for your health
providers, personal support network and emergency
- Personal Care Assistance: If you receive
assistance from a home healthcare agency or in-home support
provider, find out how the provider will respond in an
emergency. Designate backup or alternative providers that you
can contact in an emergency.
- For Persons Using a Wheelchair: Plan for
how you will evacuate in an emergency and discuss it with your
care providers. If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a
manual wheelchair as a backup.
- For Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired:
Keep an extra cane by your bed. Attach a whistle; in case you
need to attract attention. Exercise caution when moving, paths
may have become obstructed.
- For Persons who are Hearing Impaired: Keep
extra batteries for your hearing aids with emergency supplies.
Consider storing your hearing aids in a container attached to
your nightstand or bedpost, so you can locate them quickly
after a disaster.
- For persons with Communication Disabilities:
Store paper, writing materials, copies of a word or letter
board and preprinted key phrases in your emergency kit, your
wallet, purse, etc.
There are numerous ways you can get involved to help Rainsville be better prepared for the next emergency. Contact the American Red Cross (local chapter: 256-845-0202) for more information concerning Disaster Preparedness, First Aid and CPR Training.
- Keep a collar, current license and up-to date ID tags on
your pet at all times. Consider having your pet
- Make sure your pet is comfortable being in a crate, box,
cage, or carrier for transport.
- Keep an updated list of trusted neighbors who could assist
your animals in case of an emergency.
- Tighten and secure latches on birdcages. Fasten down aquariums on low stands or tables.
Make a Go bag for each pet. Include:
- Sturdy leashes and pet carriers. A pillowcase is a good
option for transporting cats and other small animals. Muzzles
for dogs. Food, drinking water and medicine for at least one
- Non-spill bowls, manual can opener and plastic lid.
- Plastic bags, litter box and litter.
- Recent photo of each pet.
- Names and phone numbers of your emergency contact, emergency
veterinary hospitals and animal shelters.
- Copy of your pet's vaccination history and a list of any
- Portable fencing or baby gates.
- Remember that animals react differently under stress. Keep
dogs securely leashed and transport cats in carriers or
- If your pet is lost, contact the nearest animal shelter to report your pet missing.
Locate all your animals and keep them with you. Be aware that shelters will only allow service animals. In a large-scale disaster, animal shelters will be set up when possible.
Fort Payne, AL; (256) 845-9463 | email
If you must leave your pets behind:
- Inform animal rescue workers of your pets' status: On your
front door or in a highly visible window, use chalk, paint or
marker to write the number and types of pets in your
residence. Include their location in your home and the date
that you evacuated.
- Leave plenty of water in a large, open container that cannot
be tipped over.
- Leave plenty of food in timed feeders to prevent your pet
- Do not tie up your pet in your home.
Natural gas leaks can cause an explosive and flammable atmosphere inside a building.
Natural gas leaks can cause fires and explosions inside a building.
- If you smell gas, hear gas escaping, see a broken gas line,
or if you suspect a leak, shut off the main valve and open all
windows and doors.
- Never use candles or matches if you suspect a leak. Do not
turn on electrical switches or appliances.
- Identify the main shutoff valve, located on the gas line
coming into the main gas meter. This is usually on the
exterior of your home or building, or in an external closet.
Your main valve may look like this:
- To turn gas off, give the valve a quarter turn in either
direction. When the lever crosses the direction of the pipe
(see below) the gas is off.
- Keep a crescent wrench or gas shut-off tool nearby to turn
- Never attempt to turn your gas back on. Wait for your
utility company to do it. This may take several days.
DeKalb-Cherokee Gas District; 205 Grand Ave North
(256) 845.3731 or (800) 239-5606
Electrocution can result from direct contact with live wires or anything that has been energized by these wires.
- Locate your main electric switch, which is normally in the
garage or outdoors. The panel box may have a flip switch or
pull handle on a large circuit breaker.
- Shut off electricity when:
- Arcing or burning occurs in electrical devices.
- There is a fire or significant water leak.
- You smell burning insulation.
- The area around switches or plugs is blackened and/or hot to the touch.
- A complete power loss is accompanied by the smell of burning material.
OUR POWER PROVIDER:
Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative
(256) 638-2153 or (877) 843-2512
Water leaks can cause property damage and create an electrocution hazard.
- After a major earthquake, shut off your water supply to
protect the water in your house. Cracked pipes may allow
contaminants into the water supply in your home.
- The water shutoff is usually located in the basement, garage or where the water line enters the home. The water shutoff is located on a riser pipe and is usually a red or yellow wheel. Turn wheel clockwise to shut off water.
A disaster that disrupts all or part of the City's water and/or sewer lines could affect the way you deal with human waste.
- If there is no water in your toilet, but the sewer lines are
intact, pour 3-5 gallons of water into the toilet bowl to
flush. You may use rainwater, bath and laundry or pool
- If you suspect damage to your home's water lines, do NOT
flush the toilet. Turn off water at the house so contaminated
water does not enter your water system.
- If sewer lines are broken, line bowl with double-bagged
garbage bags to collect waste. Before discarding, add a small
amount of bleach; then seal the bag and place in a tightly
covered container, away from people.
- If the toilet is unusable, use a sturdy bucket with a tight
fitting lid, and line it with a double-bagged plastic garbage
Local chapter: (256) 845-0202