Prepare for Disaster: Just in Case

On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, here are five ways prepare your family and workplace for the worst.


Today is the anniversary of the disasters at the World Trade Center that changed life in the United States and the world.

Let's hope there is never a repeat.

But we live in earthquake country and disasters happen.

September is National Preparedness Month.

The federal government is hoping you will get down to details to make a plan for the inevitable: temblors, wild fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or even terrorism and pandemics.

To get the word out FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Authority, has built an extensive website to help citizens plan and prepare.

Ready.gov offers instructions on how to ready your family, your home, your car and even your business for an emergency. The site includes tips specific to disasters common in your area such as the hurricanes that can hit Connecticut. There are even diagrams on how to seal off your home in the event that the outside air is contaminated. 

Here are five things Patch found that can help you get ready:

1.  Build a tailor made kit

You're smart enough to build a kit with food and water, but FEMA suggests making sure you include foods your family will actually eat. If you're kids have never eaten a bean in their life, maybe a disaster isn't the time to present them with a can of cold red kidney beans. Also don't forget high-energy foods like protein bars and, FEMA suggests, skip salty foods that will make you thirsty.

2.  How much water is enough?

Speaking of thirsty, FEMA suggests storing one gallon for each person for three days. But if you live some place hot consider storing more. Click here for more tips about what not to use to store your water.

3.  Some non-food items you should have in your kit:

  • Duct tape, plastic sheeting and dust masks in case you need to shelter in.
  • Whistle to alert responders to your location
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Baby wipes and garbage bags for personal sanitation
  • A can opener
  • (Click here for the full list)

4.  Make a national communication plan.

If you've got relatives out of state, they may be just the ones you need when your local friends and family are mired in a disaster. Your Uncle Louie in Detroit or Aunt Emmy in Tampa could be the point person if you and your family become separated. FEMA also offers a PDF family emergency plan you can fill out and email to family and friends. There is also a PDF contact card that kids can carry with them. (We've included both above this story below the photo).

5.  What exactly do you say to a terrorist? 

If you received a bomb threat at work, would you know what do? FEMA has put together a list of questions to ask the caller, which you can view here. If you are caught in a explosion did you know that whistling to a rescuer could save you? FEMA says shouting could lead to inhaling dangerous amounts of dust.

For more information on how to prepare for everything from a black out to a cyber attack, visit www.Ready.gov.

Craig Alimo September 11, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I agree what FEMA is pushing this month: to be prepared. As a new Californian, I know that I'll need to get my act together, and check out this ready.gov website so my family and I can be ready for unexpected stuff that can happen. Great info and great resource links. What I don't love about this article is the image of the door, window, vents etc. being sealed off with duct tape. While I believe that it is the thing to do for contaminated air, I object to the impact of the imagery this type of picture conjures up. I lived 1 mile from Washington DC, inside of the beltway during the 9/11 attacks. I recall soon after the attacks, the President and sensational media created a scare regarding contaminated air attacks which put the DC area in a frenzy that would make Fox News proud. It was completely over sensationalized. There was nary a role of duct tape nor a role of plastic to be found anywhere near DC. My anxiety-ridden partner at the time almost had a breakdown over this kind of stuff. Call me an ostrich for objecting to this imagery, but I don't think more folks need to be unnecessarily scared. I'm not saying airborne attacks will never happen, I am asking at what cost do we need to tap people's anxiety for sensational things to happen. Let's pump the brakes on this stuff, people.... Peace, Craig John Alimo
Classic Bob September 11, 2012 at 04:47 PM
The information is great. I appreciate the articles on Patch which contribute to our immediate community. The time to prepare is not when you need to be prepare. Everything should be stocked now, just in case. Also practice before an event helps too. There should be practice exercises of how to reach loved ones and where to meet them. In a stressful situation, maintaining contact with loved ones is key to stress relief. And I know this is an ugly picture, but you also really have to have a plan for toilet functions. In all the preparedness information, they don't mention that enough. The waste accumulates quick and it's the biggest risk of contamination and illness. Craig, sorry for your experience, but don't forget we just recently had the refinery fire in Richmond. That picture would have helped hundreds of families here in the bay area had they seen it before it happened. You never know.
Craig Alimo September 11, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Classic Bob... good point on the Richmond Fire. Totally didn't think about that! Peace, Craig


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