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Ste. Genevieve County Ambulance District
P.O. Box 401
Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670


Emergency Preparedness

Creating a Family Disaster Plan
Know which types of disasters are most likely to happen in your community.

In Ste. Genevieve County

Thunderstorms produce produce strong winds, hail, dangerous lightning, heavy rain, and severe storms can generate tornadoes without warning.

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can uproot trees, damage buildings, and turn harmless objects into deadly missiles. They can devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends to the ground with whirling winds that can exceed 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.

Earthquakes are the trembling of the earth’s crust, caused by underground volcanic forces or by fracturing and shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates.

Floods can occur in low-lying areas due to rising rivers, creeks, gullies, and culverts. Floods can develop over a period of days.

Flash floods can result in raging waters in just a few minutes due to heavy downpours. Flash floods carry a deadly cargo of rocks, mud and other debris. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off of your feet. Only two feet of water can cause a vehicle to become buoyant enough for the driver to lose control.

Winter storms can immobilize an entire region with heavy snowfall and extreme cold. The results can range from isolation due to blocked roads and downed power lines to the havoc of cars and trucks sliding on icy highways.

Man-made disasters include hazardous material incidents (fixed or mobile facilities), plane crashes, train derailments, major highway accidents, terrorism, or nuclear incidents.

Family Disaster Planning
One of the most frightening things about a disaster is not knowing what to do. Even worse might be believing there is nothing you can do. It is normal and natural to be anxious about disasters. However, fears and anxieties can be lessened by planning and practicing what to do BEFORE a disaster occurs. You and your family CAN learn to react correctly and automatically when an emergency occurs. Emergencies often happen without warning. Where will you go? What if you’re separated? Will family members know what to do to protect themselves? Will you? How will you get in touch with them? The answer is called all-hazard planning. With some basic planning, you can provide your family with the tools and information that they need to help them through a wide range of potential emergencies. Another important reason to talk about disasters is that in today’s society, many children spend time alone at home before and after school while parents are at work. It is important, if only for that reason, that they understand what to do, how to react, and that it may be several days before you will be returning home. Working on your plan together as a family, will ensure that everyone is familiar with it. Practicing your plan regularly will help everyone remember it when it really counts!

Planning Tips
Plan to go or stay. Regardless of the type of emergency, the choices come down to two options. In some situations, it may be safer to stay where you are, such as severe weather or some types of hazardous chemical spills. Or you may need to evacuate for situations such as flooding, fire, or a gas leak. By planning in advance, you will be ready to do whichever you need to do quickly.

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) isn’t “just for weather” anymore. In addition to severe weather warnings and information, NWR provides 24 hour alerting for a variety of public safety hazards. From child abduction alerts, to 9-1-1 system outages, to hazardous chemical spills, NWR is an all-hazard alert network. Unlike television or radio, its alarm can alert you to hazards awake or asleep. Battery backup keeps it operating when electrical power fails. NOAA weather radio should be in every home and business!

Emergency supplies such as water, food, first aid kits, and tools should be stored in a safe place, in the event of an emergency that makes leaving unsafe or you are unable to leave. At the same time, storing supplies in portable containers will mean that your supplies will be ready to go with you at a moment’s notice.

Prepare enough supplies to last at least 3 days.

Emergency meeting places should be planned in advance. One should be near your home where everyone will gather if you must leave your home quickly. Choose a second meeting place in your area, in case it’s not possible to get to your home or neighborhood.

Emergency escape routes aid family members in exiting your home more quickly and safely. It’s best to plan a second way out of each room, in case a door or hallway is blocked. Store Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved collapsible ladders for escape from upper story windows. Once out of the building, whether together or individually, teach family members to follow the family disaster plan and go to your emergency meeting place.

Refuge areas for severe weather and tornadoes should be in the basement or small interior rooms without windows on the lowest level of your home. Consider storing your emergency supplies in or near your refuge area for faster, easier access.

Emergency contacts can help you get back in touch with family members in other locations during an emergency. Choose a local person for family members to call or email. Also choose a long distance contact. Long distance calls may still go through when local phone service isn’t working.

Pets may not be accepted at emergency shelters. Make sure you have more than one option. Plan ahead to leave them with friends or relatives and make a list of boarding facilities that can take pets in emergencies. Be sure to pack emergency supplies for pets, too.For information on a variety of animals and livestock, visit the
Humane Society of the United States Disaster Center

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