Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Are you ready? If not, check out these resources!
Disaster Supplies Kit [Link opens a PDF] – A handy printable checklist of essential items you should have in your home in case of any emergency, plus key websites to help you stay informed about current or potential emergencies (State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management). The Family Communication Plan [Link opens a PDF] is a printable form you can fill out so your family will know how to get in touch with each other in the event of an emergency. Fill in this information and keep a copy in a safe place, such as your purse or briefcase, your car, your office, and your disaster kit. For additional forms & checklists, see Make a Plan [NEW!] (FEMA).
Disasters: Prepare Your Home & Family – General advice on how to prepare for natural disasters or other emergencies, including tips for taking care of children, people with disabilities, seniors, and pets. Disaster Preparedness Library focuses on specific types of emergencies, including chemical spills, fires, floods, flu, heat waves, poisoning, power outages, terrorism, winter storms, and more. After a Disaster offers guidance on what to do after floods, hurricanes, winter storms blackouts, and other disasters, including checking your home’s structure, utilities & major systems, and recovering emotionally & financially (American Red Cross). See also Emergency Preparedness & Response (U.S. Centers for Disease Control), and Disasters and Emergencies [UPDATED LINK!] (USA.gov). Getting Your Family Prepared for a Disaster [NEW!] offers special advice to families with children (American Academy of Pediatrics).
Emotional Recovery from Disaster – Briefly outlines common reactions and responses to disaster, and offers advice on coping. (2013, American Psychological Association). See also Helping Children Cope With a Disaster and Parents Helping Youth Cope with Disaster [UPDATED LINK!] [Link opens a PDF] (2013, U.S. Centers for Disease Control). SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support, by phone or text, to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. There is also a special service for hard of hearing & deaf people, and an interpretation service that connects callers with counselors in more than 150 languages (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
Financial Preparedness: Lessons from Sandy – Recommends steps to take before disaster hits to be sure your financial accounts, medical & prescription drug information, original copies of important documents (birth certificates, wills, etc.) and other necessities are secured and accessible to you in the event of an emergency (2012, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse). The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) [UPDATED LINK!] helps individuals and families collect and organize critical financial, medical, and household contact information. This gives you a centralized record of essential household information whenever you need it so you will be able to rebuild your life more quickly after a disaster (2018, FEMA). Disasters and Financial Planning [Link opens a PDF] includes information on filing insurance claims, applying for private or government assistance, tax relief, and related topics (2015, National Endowment for Financial Education, American Red Cross and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; non-profit organizations). See also Weather Emergencies: Getting your Financial House in Order (2015, Federal Trade Commission).
Flooding – How to prepare for, stay safe during, and recover from floods, including dealing with emergency disinfection of drinking water, mold, private wells & septic systems, and related subjects (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). See also Family Preparedness: Floods and Flash Floods (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management) and Floods: What You Should Know (U.S. Centers for Disease Control). FloodSmart explains the National Flood Insurance Program and your flood insurance coverage options (FEMA). The short video Flooded Cars [UPDATED LINK!] offers tips on how to identify a flood-damaged vehicle when you shop for a car (Insurance Information Institute, Inc.).
Food Safety in an Emergency – Answers to frequently asked questions about food safety after a flood or other disaster, including a helpful “When to Save and When to Throw It Out” chart (USDA). See also FoodSafety.gov.
Preparedness for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs – People with disabilities often need additional time and assistance to prepare for a disaster. The Red Cross offers a free booklet you can download and print, (American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA). See also Ready.gov for Individuals with Disabilities (FEMA). Register Ready is a free and confidential program which allows residents with special needs to register with emergency response agencies, so emergency responders can better serve them in an emergency (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management).
Preparedness for Seniors – Tips for over-50 adults and their families / caregivers (The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc). See also Disaster Planning For Seniors, By Seniors [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross), Ready.gov for Seniors (FEMA). and Safety Tips for Seniors and related links. Preparedness for Alzheimer’s Caregivers [NEW!] offers advice for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s, whose impairments in memory and reasoning severely limit their ability to act appropriately in crises (National Institute on Aging).
Planning for Pets – Pets can’t prepare, so you need to do it for them! This guide explains what you can do ahead of time to ensure your pets’ safety in times of emergency (Humane Society of the United States). See also Preparing your Pets for Emergencies [Link opens a PDF] (FEMA et al.), Saving the Whole Family® [Link opens a PDF] (American Veterinary Medical Association) and Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross).
Power Outages – Tips to help you prepare for and cope with sudden loss of power, including food & water safety, and dealing with extreme heat and cold. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control)
Protect Your Home in a FLASH – DIY Videos showing steps you can take to strengthen your home and safeguard your family from natural and manmade disasters; videos are hosted on YouTube. See Flash FAQ for additional resources.
Safe & Well List If you have been affected by a disaster, this site provides a way for you to register yourself as ‘safe and well.’ If you are concerned about loved ones in a disaster area, you can search the list of those who have registered themselves as ‘safe and well.’ For help contacting family members during or after an international crisis (war, disaster, migration or other humanitarian emergency), see Find Family Internationally After Crisis (American Red Cross), Restoring Family Links (International Committee of the Red Cross), and Google Person Finder.
Save Your Treasures – Basic guidelines for saving family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes that have been damaged by water (Heritage Preservation and FEMA). See also Wet Book Rescue [NEW!] video (Syracuse University Libraries; hosted on YouTube).
Winter Weather – Advice on protecting your health and safety in winter, including what to do if you get stranded on the road (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). See also Winter Weather Safety (National Weather Service). Winter Driving offers vehicle maintenance & driving tips and outlines laws that help keep you safe on the road in winter (State of New Jersey). See also Car Talk: Winter Driving (NPR; site includes advertisements) and AAA Winter Driving Tips. To test your knowledge about driving safely in a variety of extreme weather conditions, see the Weather Channel’s Extreme Weather Driving Quiz!
Workplace Disasters – Resources to help you prepare your business or organization for disasters, or recover from one.
If you are struck by a natural disaster, DisasterAssistance.gov is the official U.S. government website that provides information and services to access and apply for disaster assistance. For additional information, see Benefit.gov’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness and Relief Benefits.
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Do you want to make a donation to a disaster relief program? Check out our Charitable Giving Webfinder for resources that can help you make your donations count!
Links updated 5/31/18.