how to stay informed {disaster prep day 2}

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Are You Ready Today’s action step is to purchase a battery powered radio and spare batteries (or you may be able to get a wind up one), bookmark various disaster information services and double-check the types of emergencies that may affect you.

It can be frightening to shelter in your house without any idea of what’s going on around you, whether you’re in direct danger, whether you need to evacuate or even if it’s safe to leave.

It can be even worse if a disaster has struck and you had no idea it was coming.

And so it’s important to stay informed – to be aware of impending dangers and also to stay informed with up-to-date information during an emergency.

There are many ways to stay informed these days, but it’s still important to keep a battery operated radio in case you have a power outage or mobile phone networks and internet connections are damaged.

Connecting to local services now and investing in a radio will mean you can be informed prior to and during and emergency.

1. know What potential emergencies can affect you

Check your local council website for their disaster management plans, warning systems, evacuations procedures, evacuation routes and centres and make sure you understand them.

Natural disasters that may affect you are floods, fire, cyclone, severe storms and earthquakes. Know which ones can affect you.

Don’t forget  to consider other potential emergencies. Chemical spills, localised fire, power-outage, contagious illness (remember how people were quarantined for the swine flu a few years ago?), service disruptions (the 2000 UK truck strike, for instance, that nearly bought entire country to a stand-still – no trucks means no food!) are just a few potential emergencies that you should prepare for.

And remember, even if you’re not directly affected by natural disaster, flood and fire could see you cut off from supplies, so you need to take that into consideration too.

2. Tune in

A battery powered radio will ensure that you stay informed, even if the power goes out.

Find out your local stations as well as your local ABC station, write these stations on a label and stick it to the radio for easy reference.

Know what the Standard Emergency Warning Signal sounds like. If you hear it, you need to listen carefully to the information given and then act immediately.

Store your radio in an easily accessible place and don’t forget to keep spare batteries with your radio. A zip-lock bag is a good way to store it all together. Don’t store the batteries in the radio.

Your local TV station and news is also a good source of emergency information, so if the power is on, stay on your local station for updates.

3. Essential websites to bookmark

Essential websites to bookmark include:

  • The Bureau of Meteorology website
  • Your local council’s website
  • Your state disaster management service
  • Your state’s emergency services (SES) website
  • Your local roads and traffic authority (for road closures)
  • Your local energy distributor (for information on power outages. This is not the energy provider that sends you the bill, although they may also have relevant information.)
  • Your state’s fire and rescue service website
  • Your local newspaper website
  • Local public transport website (if you catch public transport)

Having these websites bookmarked and readily available makes it easy to get the information you need during an emergency.

3. Essential Facebook pages to follow

Facebook can be really useful for keeping up with what’s going on. If you have a smartphone it’s a good idea to get a phone charger that can run off your car battery or even a wind-up charger so that you can stay informed.

However, don’t rely on your phone only. Natural disasters can cut mobile phone and internet services, so a phone doesn’t replace a radio.

Some useful Facebook pages include:

  • Your local and state SES page
  • Your local and state fire and rescue page
  • Your local council
  • Your local paper / news service
  • Your local energy distributor
  • Local storm watch groups
  • Local community groups (sometimes word of mouth is quicker than official channels but not necessarily accurate)

4. Emergency Alerts

During an emergency, you may receive a telephone alert via landline.

If you receive an emergency alert telephone call, you need to listen carefully and take the required action promptly.

Again, don’t rely on receiving an emergency alert, phone lines can be damaged. Take responsibility for yourself to stay informed via other channels.

Information is key to protecting yourself, your family and your belongings in an emergency. Have you taken steps to stay informed in the event of an emergency?


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