Better safe than sorry—4 ways to prepare for an emergency

 

As climate change increases the threat of hazards like flooding and extreme heat in our community, it is more important than ever to make sure we are prepared for emergencies. In 2015, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uncovered that 60% of Americans have not practiced what to do when a disaster strikes and 61% do not have an emergency plan.

 

It is important that Nashua residents are not part of these statistics and that everyone knows steps to take to feel ready when a disaster happens.

 

Here are 4 ways you can prepare for any emergency (from fires to floods to chemical spills, and everything inbetween):

 

  1. Create an emergency plan. Making a plan is an important step to feeling prepared. Chances are your school or workplace has an emergency plan (whether you know about it or not) and your home should too! Plans should include identifying people who can help you when a disaster happens, picking a place to meet friends and family after a disaster, and selecting ways to stay informed, among other important details.

 

Also, remember to practice your plan. If you never test it out it you might not remember what to do when the time comes and every second counts. You may also think of improvements to your plan if you see how it works in the real world.

 

Tip: Let Nashua do some of the work! The City has created an easy-to-fill-out emergency plan template that you can download and print from their website.

 

  1. Stash an emergency kit. No one wants to be stuck in their house during a power outage only to realize that they don’t have batteries for their flashlight. In addition to flashlights and batteries, kits should include things like first aid, a radio, a whistle, canned food, bottled water, medication, cash, important documents (e.g., passport, birth certificate, etc.), and a copy of your emergency plan. A list of things to pack can be found in the out emergency plan template mentioned above!

 

While the percentage of Nashua residents who have stored basic supplies like food, water, and medication has increased since 2010, residents are doing worse related to other supplies and equipment like radios and flashlights. Let’s all make an effort to be better prepared.

 

Tip: Because some emergencies require you to stay in place (e.g., winter storms) while others require you to evacuate immediately (e.g., fires) you should have both a “go” and a “stay” kit. “Stay” kits should include enough water, food, medication, and other supplies to last you at least 3 days. “Go” kits should be packed in a backpack, easy to carry, and stored in a convenient location in your house.

 

  1. Sign up for emergency alerts. There are several emergency notification services that you can sign up for to make sure you know when a disaster occurs. Nashua residents are encouraged to sign up for CodeRED, a service that allows officials to notify residents and businesses by telephone, cell phone, text message, email, and social media. You can also log on to NashuaNH.gov/emergency for alerts.

 

Tip: Download the free NH Alerts mobile app to stay informed on the go!

 

  1. Volunteer. Sign up to be part of Nashua’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT volunteers can assist their Nashua neighbors when a disaster occurs and professional responders haven’t arrived yet. In addition, if you are a health professional, you should consider signing up for NH Responds. This program verifies volunteer information in advance, saving time during emergencies.

Tip: Learn about local preparedness activities, including things like CERT trainings, by following the Greater Nashua Public Health Network on Facebook.

 

As you can see, dealing with disasters doesn’t have to be daunting—Nashua has the resources and know-how you need to make you feel ready no matter what comes your way.

 

To find out more about what Nashua is doing to prepare for emergencies and address other sustainability issues, visit our Livable Nashua Dashboard.

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