What to Do in an Emergency
Perhaps the most basic thing to remember is to keep calm. This may mean the difference between life and death. In disasters, people often are killed or injured because they acted thoughtlessly. Take time to think, and then take the appropriate action. Usually, this will be action you have planned in advance, or the action you are instructed to take by local authorities.
- Whenever a major storm or other potential disaster threatens, keep your radio or television turned on to hear weather reports and forecasts, as well as other information and advice that may be broadcast by local authorities.
- Use your telephone only to report important events (such as fires, flash floods or tornado sightings) to 9-1-1. If you tie up the telephone lines, you may prevent emergency calls from being completed.
- A knowledge of first aid and emergency medical care can save lives and reduce suffering. Both adults and teenagers can acquire these valuable skills by taking general first aid courses. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training is offered by the Skokie Fire Department.
- In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, condominium, or apartment on a moment's notice. You should be ready to get out fast.
- Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence, showing the location of doors, windows, stairways and large furniture.
- Indicate the location of emergency supplies, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits and utility shut off points.
- Next, draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room.
- Finally, mark a place outside the home where household members should meet if an evacuation is necessary. Be sure to include important points outside, such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways and porches. Put together escape plans for each floor of your home. Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year.
- Maintain your car in good operating condition with an ample supply of gasoline in case you have to leave your home.
- Know how and where to shut off gas, water and electricity to your household. Keep necessary tools or wrenches handy.
- Keep important papers in a safety deposit box at a bank. House deed, insurance policies, birth certificates, and lists and photos of your possessions for insurance purposes will be essential after the disaster.