Best offense in disaster: a good plan beforehand

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 2, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
When disaster strikes, the best protection is knowing what to do.
There are steps individuals and businesses can take to ensure they are safe if a natural disaster or catastrophic event occurs.
There are state and federal requirements for adult care facilities, day care facilities and hospitals.
“The state requires an emergency action plan,” said Frank Thomason, emergency management division coordinator.
Thomason said his department has helped many local agencies and businesses come up with their own action plan and have helped others improve their existing plans.
“We can even go to the business to help them with a plan even though they may not be required,” he said.
Thomason also encourages families to come up with their own plan that he said should include a disaster supply kit.
“It’s vitally important for individuals and businesses to prepare ahead of time,” Thomason said.
Packing supplies in a duffel back or backpack ensures that if the need to evacuate arises, the necessary supplies are ready and available.
What to have in a kit
• Water — A gallon per person, per day for at least three days. Store in tightly sealed, non-breakable plastic, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Change water every six months.
• Food — Enough to last each member three days. Canned and boxed foods. Remember a manual can opener or buy cans with pull tabs. Pack in sealed metal or plastic containers. Replace food every six months. Remember food for infants or family with special dietary needs.
• Tools — Flashlights, change of clothing, blankets, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, toiletries, washcloths and towels.
• Personal items — Identification cards, copies of birth and marriage certificates, bank account numbers, maps, extra car and house keys, prescription medications and inventory of household goods.
To learn how to prepare for a disaster and for a complete kit go to or call 704-216-8900.