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The Human tendency is to believe, “it will never happen to me”, but it is our responsibility as parents, friends, and neighbours to be prepared. We encourage you to share stories, experiences, and lessons in dealing with emergencies so others can benefit from your learnings. At American Family Safety we strongly believe in the 3 main steps to getting prepared:
Get a Kit
Most people have a false sense of security by thinking the flashlight they have stored in the kitchen drawer and Band-Aid package in the bathroom is sufficient for dealing with emergencies. It is extremely important that every family have a comprehensive emergency safety kit that is portable, and pre-composed as opposed to scattered throughout the house. If your family needs to respond quickly to an emergency you won’t have the time to scurry through your house to collect the necessary tools to help cope with these situations. It is also impossible to think clearly when you’re in a state of panic. The only sensible option is to prepare for an emergency BEFORE it occurs. Thus make sure your family has a complete emergency kit stored in an accessible place and make sure everyone in the family knows where this kit is located.
Your family’s emergency kit is more than a first aid package and flashlight. A comprehensive kit contains the following elements:
Food and Water Rations:
The right equipment is an essential part of your kit and should include:
Items of a Personal Nature:
It is important to customize your emergency kit with personal items that are specific to your family’s needs. For example:
We have created a comprehensive 72 hour-emergency safety kit that has all the tools necessary to deal with emergency situations. Your emergency kit needs to be portable, essentially a “Grab and Go” solution. The government has been educating citizens about preparedness for the past 5 years, specifically in September during National Preparedness Month.
Make a Plan:
Having a comprehensive emergency kit is important, but in order to get the most effectiveness from your preparedness strategy you must have a Family Communication Plan. Often emergencies happen when you least expect them; you may be at work while your children are at school… it is important that the whole family has a plan to deal with emergencies, and a method for getting reunited should the family be separated. Building a plan is easy and takes just a few minutes. You can access a free online Family Communication Plan and print it out for your records here.
This last step toward Emergency Preparedness is the essence of American Family Safety – Stay Informed! Keep up to date with the latest information about emergency preparedness. We will publish articles from experts within the safety industry and through our website you will have access to the Safety Library at American Family Safety which will give you access to additional content, articles, and tips.
If you lack insurance and a disaster occurs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may offer the following once the president has officially declared a "major disaster":
Funds are also available to cover medical and dental expenses, funeral costs, personal property expenses, transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses authorized by law.
To qualify for disaster assistance, your city or town must be covered by a federal disaster declaration. You can then apply for disaster assistance by telephone, online or in person. You will need to provide the following information:
Once you file for disaster assistance, FEMA will give you a unique application number. Make sure to write it down and keep it handy. You’ll need it for future reference.
FEMA will then arrange for an inspection to determine your eligibility for disaster assistance. You will need to provide the inspector with proof of ownership (a deed, tax records, mortgage payment book, copy of your homeowner’s policy or a printout demonstrating proof of ownership from your county’s property tax website). The inspector will also ask for proof of occupancy (a driver’s license, first-class government mail sent to your address within the last three months or a recent utility bill).
Once the inspection has been completed, FEMA will determine your eligibility for assistance within 10 days.]]>
Many people fail to realize that flood and earthquake insurance are not included in most standard homeowner’s insurance policies. If you live in a flood-prone area (and most of us do), you’ll need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, you’ll need to purchase special earthquake coverage to protect your property and its contents.
Review your insurance policies regularly to ensure you have optimum coverage. Some policies cover only physical damage to your home, but fail to offer replacement coverage for the furnishings and property within. Check with your insurance agent before a disaster strikes to ensure that you have adequate coverage. Also ask your agent to review the claims-filing process in advance so there are no "surprises" after a disaster occurs.
Visit American Family Safety’s Flood Safety Center for additional information on flood emergencies and insurance.]]>
Right after the disaster occurs, don’t be surprised if you receive a busy signal when you dial 911. Phone lines will be jammed with callers, so use this number only if you require immediate police, fire or emergency medical (ambulance) assistance. It is not designed to handle calls regarding minor emergencies (cuts and scrapes), housing assistance, food, water, shelter and other post-disaster needs. Tying up 911 lines may prevent those with life-threatening emergencies from receiving prompt help, so be sure to use this number appropriately.
Listen to TV and radio reports to obtain specific information on disaster relief efforts in your area. Agency phone numbers, addresses and contacts will be broadcast regularly, featuring specific information on shelters, food, water, medical and other vital assistance. If you have no electricity, use the battery-operated radio supplied in your disaster kit to monitor broadcasts.
Your city’s mayor, town council and public safety agencies will coordinate with state officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security, and charities like the American Red Cross and Salvation Army to facilitate a prompt response. If residents are displaced from their homes or cannot receive basic services (water, food, power), the president may declare a "major disaster." At that point, FEMA will step in to assist you and your family with temporary housing, food vouchers, monetary assistance and even low-interest loans. Special programs are also available if you own a small business or farm. Use the telephone numbers and addresses provided by local media to seek assistance.
Even if you are not displaced from your home, make sure your family’s emotional needs are met. You may think everyone—including yourself—is coping well, but disasters are traumatic experiences. Family members are likely to experience a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, crying spells, mood swings, increased frustration and irritability, an inability to concentrate, headaches and stomachaches, disorientation or “disconnection” from others, fear of leaving home or being alone, sadness, depression and/or feelings of hopelessness. If children or adults are plagued by these symptoms, take advantage of counseling services provided by local government and hospitals. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. The ability to recognize that you need crisis counseling is actually a sign of strength.]]>
Preplanning for a disaster can help you regain—and maintain—a sense of calm. Take charge by following these important steps:
If you are ordered to remain in your home, use your emergency supplies kit to take care of your essential needs. It contains a flashlight and batteries that will get you through a power outage, a first aid kit, a respirator, a three-day supply of drinking water and emergency food, shelter-in-place instructions, Home Guard Barrier Sheeting, duct tape and an emergency preparedness manual, among other critical disaster supplies. Remember: You need to have sufficient emergency supplies to care for every member of your family. Use American Family Safety’s Are You Ready? Family Assessment Tool to ensure every family member is protected.
If you are ordered to evacuate your home, do not procrastinate! Possessions can be replaced; family members cannot. Your No. 1 priority is your family’s safety, so do not place anyone in jeopardy by gathering pictures, scrapbooks or other mementos. Follow the orders that are designed to get you out of the house quickly. Do not return home until you receive the “all clear” from state, local or federal authorities. Your life and safety may depend on it.]]>
Unfortunately, such denial prevents us from taking even the most basic emergency preparedness steps. This leaves us vulnerable—and dangerously unprepared—when a major disaster occurs.
Emergency preparedness begins with accepting that a disaster can occur in your area. Have you done the following?
Make your voice heard! Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor takes questions from residents affected by Hurricane Katrina. He introduced a Katrina relief bill in Congress. (Photo: FEMA/Mark Wolfe)
Happy New Year from American Family Safety—your one-stop shopping resource for emergency preparedness supplies and disaster kits.
As we enter a new year, you need to make a critical resolution to protect your family in the event a major disaster or emergency strikes your community: Be prepared.
Just as you purchase insurance for your home and car, you need to make an investment in your family’s safety.and are remarkably inexpensive, so why take chances with your loved ones’ well-being?
American Family Safety’s extremely affordable Ready Kit™ contains all of theyou’ll need to protect your family, and it meets official Department of Homeland Security guidelines for . Take our “Are You Ready?” survey to determine your precise preparedness needs based on the number of family members and pets living in your home, your children’s ages, your geographic area, and your commuting and travel demands.
In addition to taking the proper steps to ensure your family’s safety during a disaster or emergency, you need to make sure your community is prepared. After witnessing the federal, state and local response to a major disaster like Hurricane Katrina, it’s more important than ever to make your voice heard.
Dr. Steven Taylor, an associate professor of government at American University in Washington, DC, offers the following advice on community.
Use the ballot box to convey your disaster preparedness concerns.
“Many elected officials look up residents’ voting records before they decide whether or not to respond to a resident,” Dr. Taylor says. “People who vote in both primaries and general elections on the local, state and national levels are taken more seriously.
“Vote in every election!” he urges. “If you feel there are no candidates deserving of your vote, then you should simply appear at the polls, go inside the booth and then leave. This way, you are recorded as having voted.”
As we learned from Hurricane Katrina, elected officials at the local, state and federal levels play a major role in how disaster response is managed.
If you’re concerned about your community’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities, put your support behind a candidate who echoes your views.
“Get involved in that campaign,” Dr. Taylor says. “Even if the candidate loses, volunteers are taken seriously by elected officials. A person who works on a campaign is seen as representing more than just himself or herself.”
“Concerned citizens should show up at officials’ offices, get to know them and
their aides, write letters to them and hand-deliver them,” Dr. Taylor recommends. “I tell citizens to express their opinions about the issues at hand. Always express them in writing; then, they’re on file. But try to hand-deliver them so elected officials and their staff members get to know you.”
Community meetings allow you to express your concerns aboutand disaster response to elected officials.
“When a citizen at a forum makes a statement and receives supportive comments from others in attendance, elected officials take pause and view this as a statement coming from a group of people—not just one individual,” Dr. Taylor says. “Community meetings are also a way for citizens to meet elected officials and high-level municipal and county appointees.”
Remember that 2006 is an election year. Take Dr. Taylor’s advice so your voice can be heard on the vital issues of]]> and emergency response. And remember to do your part: Purchase your disaster kit today to protect your family.
Toronto, Ontario (December 15, 2005) – In response to recent natural disasters, many organizations across the country are preparing their workplaces for emergencies. Most recently, two California businesses – Utility Vault of Northern Calif. and Thermage, Inc., of Hayward, Calif. near San Francisco – have emphasized the importance of employee safety through. The companies recently purchased Ready Kits™ and Ready Tubes™ from American Family Safety to equip their employees with the items needed in case of an emergency at home and in the workplace.
The Ready Kit™ is a bright orange backpack containing all the items recommended by the Department of Homeland Security for a disaster readiness kit. The $49 kit includes a first-aid kit, flashlight, radio, three-day supply of food and water with a five-year shelf life, and other essential items. The $39 Ready Tube™ containsin a space-saving package that fits underneath employees’ desks. When completing checkout at www.americanfamilysafety.com, businesses also can choose from a list of charities where American Family Safety will donate a percentage of the sale.
“It was essential to make our safety a high priority by providing Ready Tubes™ for our employees as we spend a significant part of the week at the office,” said Chris Hawkins of Thermage. “If a disaster were to occur during the day, I feel that our office is now adequately prepared to handle an emergency situation.”
A record breaking number of hurricanes brought emergency preparedness into the spotlight in 2005. A national, independent survey from American Family Safety found that even after recent natural disasters, nearly half of all Americans report no change in their level of concern about how a disaster might affect them.
“It is important to realize that being prepared at home is simply not enough,” said Morley Ivers, president of American Family Safety. “With more and more time being spent at the office, it is vital for businesses to be prepared so that employees feel safe.”
Companies like Utility Vault and Thermage, Inc., realize the importance of protecting the health and wellness of their employees. American Family Safety encourages businesses to emphasize the safety of their employees by purchasing disaster readiness supplies for the entire office in case of an emergency. Visit www.americanfamilysafety.com for more information aboutand education.
About American Family Safety
American Family Safety is an international corporation that distributes emergency preparedness education materials and supplies. The company markets a 72-hour family emergency preparedness product called the Ready Kit™. American Family Safety was created to further the goals of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to equip Americans with the tools and knowledge needed in case of a disaster or emergency. For more information, or to order a kit, visit American Family Safety at www.americanfamilysafety.com.
For corporate or investor inquiries, contact:
American Family Safety, Inc.
Phone: 866-686-8400 ext. 222
Toronto, Ontario (December 8, 2005) – American Family Safety, a company that offers emergency preparedness supplies and education, launches a program to donate a percentage of every sale on their Web site to a charitable organization.
This holiday season, American Family Safety encourages people to prepare their families for an emergency by assembling or buying a disaster readiness kit such as their Ready KitTM. The bright orange backpacks include an emergency manual and family communications plan that will keep you informed, as well as protected. It also holds a three-day supply of food and water with a five-year shelf life, so families do not have to worry about spoilage.
People can feel good about taking an important step for their family’s safety and contributing to a charity with their purchase. A family can customize the Ready KitTM to meet their unique needs for $49 on the American Family Safety Web site, www.americanfamilysafety.com.
Charlotte Huddleston of Tennessee, who recently purchased two Ready Kits and donated to The Salvation Army, said, “with all of the need in the world today, it is nice to see a company that has a desire to give back to the community, as well as provide me with the Ready Kit to keep me prepared for an emergency.”
When completing checkout, an individual or business can choose from a list of charities to donate a percentage of the sale including:
“It is an honor to support these deserving charities,” said Morley Ivers, managing director of American Family Safety. “In addition to our mission to prepare every American family for an emergency, we are also committed to helping those in need. This program helps families and the nonprofit organizations they support.”
A record breaking number of hurricanes broughtinto the spotlight in 2005. A national, independent survey from American Family Safety in October found that even after recent natural disasters, nearly half of all Americans report no change in their level of concern about how a disaster might affect them. The survey also found that though 85 percent of Americans are concerned about family members in an emergency disaster situation, only 13 percent have an with essential supplies.
Many American households do not meet the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) standards of emergency preparedness. The best chance of increasing survival during an emergency is to have a completeincluding all of the items listed by DHS, such as American Family Safety’s 72-hour Ready Kit.
About American Family Safety
American Family Safety is an international corporation that distributes Emergency Preparedness education materials and supplies. The company markets a 72-hour family emergency preparedness product called the Ready Kit™. American Family Safety was created to further the goals of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to equip Americans with the tools and knowledge needed in case of a disaster or emergency. For more information, or to order a kit, visit American Family Safety at www.americanfamilysafety.com.
For corporate or investor inquiries, contact:
American Family Safety, Inc.
Phone: 866-686-8400 ext. 222