Emergency Management Preparations

Park Ridge, Montvale, Woodcliff Lake- The following information has been compiled by the townships police and fire personnel in order to provide information to all residents about how to prepare for any emergency that may arise in their own homes, in their local businesses, or within the township itself.

The information should be shared with all members of your family and, or, business in case any man-made or natural emergency occurs. And, a printed copy of this information should be placed in a secure location for easy reference during an emergency in case an electrical power outage prevents access to this website. Additional information and "A Family Preparedness Guide" can be found on the New Jersey office of emergency management web site www.state.nj.us/njoem.

The following topic links may be visited by clicking on the appropriate name.

Emergency Alert System
Emergency Safety Planning
Bioterrorism Emergency
Evacuation
Hazardous Material Spills
Nuclear Radiation
Snowstorms
Thunderstorms
Tornadoes
Hurricanes
Floods
Heat Waves
Power Outages and Downed Utility Lines
Fire Emergencies
West Nile Virus
Care of Special Needs Residents
Pet Care in Emergencies

Emergency Alert System

Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if your basic services, water, gas. electricity or telephones, were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.

Where will your family be when disaster strikes? They could be anywhere, at work, at school, or in a car. How will you find each other? How will you know if your children are safe?

Families can, and do, cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Use the following information to create your families disaster plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and it is your responsibility.

The emergency phone number 911 should only be used when a life is in danger, to report a fire, to report a crime being committed, or when the police, fire, or ambulance corps is needed immediately.  When 911 is used for these purposes please remain calm, give the location of the emergency, explain the type of emergency that exists, and, don't hang up until the dispatcher tells you to do so.

Emergency, non-emergency, and business calls may be made to the townships police desk at 201-391-6900 every day 24 hours a day.

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Emergency Safety Planning

Prepare now for a sudden emergency and learn how to protect yourself and your family or business from an emergency by planning ahead. Discuss the following ideas, provided by the American Red Cross, to help you get started. Then prepare an emergency plan and post the plan where everyone will see it, such as on the refrigerator or a bulletin board in a common area.

Find out which disasters could occur in your area and learn how to prepare for each disaster.

Understand how you will be warned of an emergency and learn your communities evacuation routes. Learn about special assistance that can be provided for elderly or disabled persons and ask in your workplace about your company's emergency plans. Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care center also.

Then create an emergency plan by meeting with your family members or employees and discussing with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes and other emergencies. Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur and what to do about power outages and personal injuries.

Draw a floor plan of your home or business and mark two escape routes from each room. Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills. Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches and post emergency telephone numbers near telephones. Teach children how and when to call police, fire and emergency medical services and instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information. And teach each family member how to use an ABC type fire extinguisher and show them where it is kept.

Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster. It is often easier to call out of state than within the affected area. Also, teach children how to make long distance telephone calls.

Pick two meeting places: One should be a place near your home in case of a fire, and the second should be a place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster. Take a basic first aid and CPR class, if possible, and keep family records in a water and fireproof container.

Prepare an emergency kit and assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation. Store them in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or duffel bag.

The emergency kit should include a supply of water (one gallon per person per day) stored in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace the water every six months.

A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener should also be included as well as, a change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes, blankets or sleeping bags, a first aid kit and prescription medications.

The kit should also contain an extra pair of glasses, a battery-powered radio, flashlight with plenty of extra batteries, credit cards and cash, an extra set of car keys, a list of family physicians, and a list of important family information, including the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers. Special items for infants and elderly or disabled family members should also be included as well as photo identifications.

In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard. Therefore, repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections, fasten shelves securely, place large, heavy objects on lower shelves, hang pictures and mirrors away from beds, brace overhead light fixtures, and secure the water heater by strapping it to wall studs.

Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations, store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products away from heat sources, place oily rags or waste in covered metal cans, and clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.

If you have a relative or employee who has mobility problems ask about special assistance that may be available to you in an emergency. People with disabilities should register with the local police department so needed help can be provided quickly in an emergency.

If you currently use a personal care attendant obtained from an agency, check to see if the agency has special provisions for emergencies, such as providing services at another location should an evacuation be ordered.

Create an emergency plan by meeting with household members, employees, or a personal care attendant and discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather. earthquakes and other emergencies that might occur in this community. Learn what to do in case of power outages and personal injuries. Know how to connect or start a back-up power supply for essential medical equipment. For instance, you should locate the main electric fuse box, water service main and natural gas main in your building. Learn how and when to turn these utilities off. Teach all responsible family members or employees. And keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.

Remember, turn off the utilities only if you suspect the lines are damaged or if you are instructed to do so. If you turn the gas off you will need a professional to turn it back on.

If you or someone in your household or business uses a wheelchair make more than one exit from your home wheelchair accessible in case the primary exit is blocked in a disaster

And teach those who may need to assist you in an emergency how to operate necessary equipment.

Arrange for a relative or neighbor to check on you in an emergency and consider getting a medical alert system that will allow you to call for help if you are immobilized in an emergency.

But, if disaster strikes, remain calm and patient. Put your plan into action. Check for injuries, give first aid, and get help for seriously injured people.

Listen to your battery powered radio for news and instructions and evacuate, if advised to do so. Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes. Then check for damage in your home.

For additional information about how to prepare for hazards in your community contact your local police department or your nearest American Red Cross chapter. You can also request free family protection publications by writing to: FEMA, (Federal Emergency Management Agency), P.O. Box 70274, Washington, D.C. 20024 and asking for the brochures, Are You Ready? Your Family's Disaster Supplies Kit and Emergency Food and Water Supplies.

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Bioterrorism Emergency

Bioterrorism is the intentional release of potentially deadly bacteria, viruses, or toxins into the air, food or water supply. Anthrax and smallpox are among the most lethal weapons of mass destruction known.  All residents should become more conscious of what is going on in the community and they should report any suspicious activity or behavior to the Park Ridge, Montvale, Woodcliff Lake Police Department by dialing 911 or 201-391-6900.

When traveling don't accept packages from strangers and never leave your luggage unattended.

If you are confronted with a situation that might involve biological and chemical materials don't panic! Every situation is different, but there are general steps that will minimize the risk to you and your loved ones. And these apply to both biological and chemical events.

If you're outside, evaluate the suspected area from a position upwind, cover all exposed skin surfaces, and protect your respiratory system as much as possible, perhaps using a handkerchief to cover your mouth and nose.

If the incident is inside, leave immediately and try to avoid the contaminated area on your way out. Keep windows and unused doors closed. Turn off the ventilation system (air-conditioning or heat). If you are inside and the event is outside, stay inside. Turn off the ventilation system and seal windows and doors with plastic tape. Call 911 and report the following: your name and phone number; the date and time of event;  the distance from the incident or point of impact;  if people are becoming sick, there is a vapor cloud or dead or sick animals or birds, unusual odors, or dead or discolored vegetation; the location of the incident;  the description of the terrain in the area; the prevailing weather condition and temperature; a description of the odor, and any symptoms that have developed. 

Once you are clear of the contaminated area remove all your external clothing and leave it outside and immediately take a shower washing thoroughly with soap and water and irrigating your eyes with water.

Designate a safe room in your home which has a radio and telephone. It should be an interior room without windows if possible. The basement should not be used because in a chemical attack heavy chemical vapors would tend to sink to the lowest place in the house.

If an evacuation is ordered make sure everyone in your family knows in advance how to get outside from every room in the house.

For more detailed information there are several websites that provide information on bioterrorism. They include the American Medical Association at www.ama-assn.org or the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology at www.apic.org/bioterror or the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention at www.bt.cdc.gov or John Hopkins University at www.hopkins-biodefense.org.

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Evacuation

If it becomes necessary to evacuate an area to separate you from a hazard, you will be informed by an announcement on your Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio station.

In the New York area those stations include: WABC-AM 770; WCBS-AM 880, WFAN-AM 660; and WQXR-FM 96.3 on the radio and, WCBS-TV CH 2; WNBC-TV CH 4; and WABC-TV CH 7.

The message, and other news reports, will include any special instructions for a particular situation. If  you are advised to evacuate follow instructions promptly and carefully.

Remain calm, you will have ample time to leave.

Ignore all rumors. Stay tuned to an EAS station for official instructions.

Don't use the telephone, so lines will not be overloaded.

Gather the items you would need for a three-day visit, including: -clothing, blankets or sleeping bags, prescription medicines, if needed,  personal items like shaving kits, soap and cosmetics, formula and other needs for infants and children, your checkbook, credit cards and important   papers, a portable radio, flashlight and batteries, your phone book.

Offer a ride to anyone you know who may not have a car. Close the windows and air vents of your car, and do not operate the air conditioner until you have left the emergency area.

Follow the recommended evacuation routes. Shortcuts may be blocked.

Families going to the home of a friend or relative outside the emergency planning zone should have a pre-designated meeting place and message center.

DO NOT enter areas in which people have been told to stay indoors or evacuate until you have heard an EAS message that states all is clear and emergency workers have removed roadblocks.

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Hazardous Material Spills

The following is what you should do if you encounter a hazardous material spill in the roadway, or one that is caused by a railroad or airplane accident.

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Nuclear Radiation

In the century since radiation was discovered, radiation is one of the most widely studied and best understood processes in all of nature. Like light, heat or radio waves, radiation is a form of energy. Almost everything around us is radioactive. The soil, the rocks, the rivers and oceans, the foods we eat and the water we drink, even our own bodies.

We can easily detect and measure radiation with instruments that can find even a few radioactive atoms among billions of non-radioactive ones. We measure radiation exposure in units called millirems. A millirem measures the effect of radiation on our bodies, just as degrees measure temperature and inches measure distance.

Natural radiation accounts for about 85 percent (300 millirem) of our total radiation exposure. The rest comes from X-rays and medical procedures, as well as from consumer products such as smoke detectors and color televisions. Normal operation of nuclear power plants is a minor factor in radiation exposure. Even the people who live nearest to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in White Plains, N.Y. receive only about 1 millirem a year from the plants there.

However, very large exposures, above 100,000 millirems, can be harmful if received in one day or less. Some scientists feel that any amount of radiation, no matter how small, carries some risk, so radiation protection standards are set well below these levels.

The federal government limits exposure to the public from normal operation of nuclear power plants to 100 millirems a year. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking action to protect the public from receiving more than 1,000 millirem from nuclear accidents.

Park Ridge, Montvale, Woodcliff Lake is located within fifty miles of the Indian Point   Nuclear Power Plant. But ninety percent of the prevailing winds are southwest which is in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless, to prepare for an emergency at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant you should identify a friend or relative outside the 10-mile planning area with whom you can stay during an emergency. You should also consider making those arrangements now. If not, the location of a temporary shelter where you can stay during an emergency can be obtained .

During an emergency at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, the news media will announce a public inquiry telephone number to call if you hear reports in conflict with official information about any actions you should take.

The emergency 911 telephone system should NOT be used to contact local officials during an emergency at the Indian Point nuclear power plants.

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Snowstorms

When storms occur listen to a local radio or television station or watch the weather channel on TV for updates on weather conditions. Keep a battery powered portable radio in working order and keep extra batteries handy. Also, have flashlights, battery powered lamps and extra batteries.

Keep antifreeze in your cars radiator and carry a winter car kit that includes the following: A flashlight, a tow chain or rope, a shovel, a bag of sand or salt, extra mittens, gloves, hats, and boots, windshield scraper, blanket, and emergency flares.

If a blizzard traps you in your car pull off the highway, stay calm and remain in your vehicle.

Do not set out on foot.  A building may seem close by but be too far away to walk in a deep snow.

Set your hazard lights to the flashing position and hang a cloth and distress flag from the window or radio antenna.

If you run your car engine to keep warm, open a window slightly for ventilation. This will protect you from the potential of possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Keep snow cleared away from the exhaust pipe of your car and be careful not to use up battery power by balancing the use of your radio, heat and lights.

In extreme cold weather, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for warmth. And use your coat as a blanket.

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Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms can happen at any time. Severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rains, hail, high winds, lightning and local flooding. When severe thunderstorms threaten your area, listen to your local radio or TV station. These stations will provide updated information on the location, condition, and severity of the thunderstorm.

Get inside a home, large building or car (not a convertible). Do not use the telephone, except in emergencies. Do not use bathtubs, water faucets and sinks because metal pipes can conduct electricity.

A car offers some protection from lightning, but can be a dangerous place to be during a flash flood or tornado.

If you are outside and there is no time to reach a safe building or car, follow these rules:

  1. Do not stand under a tall tree in an open area, on a hilltop, in an open field, or, on a beach.
  2. Get away from open water.
  3. Get away from tractors and other metal equipment and/or fences.
  4. Stay away from motorcycles, bicycles, golf carts, and scooters. Do not hold metal objects such as golf clubs.

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Tornadoes

A tornado is a violent storm with whirling winds of up to 300 miles per hour. A tornado spins like a top and may sound like the roaring of an airliner or a train. You will be alerted of a tornado by your local Emergency Alert System radio station. Tune to a local station which will provide updated information and tell you what to do.

If you are at home go to a corner of your basement and take cover under something sturdy. If your home has no basement, take cover in a small room such as a closet or bathroom, or, under sturdy furniture on the lowest floor in the center part of the house. Stay away from windows. Do not remain in a trailer or mobile home if a tornado is approaching. Take cover elsewhere in a nearby shelter or lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine, or depression.

If you are in a building, go to an inside hallway on the lowest floor or to a designated area.

If you are outside, take cover and lie flat in the nearest ditch and cover your head with your arms.

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Hurricanes

Hurricanes are tropical cyclones with torrential rains and sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. They blow in a counter-clockwise direction around a center eye. Hurricane winds can exceed 155 miles per hour and severely affect areas hundreds of miles inland. Hurricanes are rated on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being the weakest. Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are considered major storms.

Listen for information and instructions on local radio and television newscasts. Inventory personal property and secure all essential records and valuable documents in a safe, water-tight place. Get together with family members to talk about what needs to be done. Moor your boat securely. Shutter, board or tape windows, refill prescriptions, medicines and secure credit cards and cash.

If your job requires you to work during a storm, make sure that at least one adult will be with your children, the elderly or those with special needs in your family.

Prepare to bring inside lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects, such as garbage cans, tools, propane grills and children's toys. Check batteries and stock up on canned foods, first aid supplies. drinking water and medications.

Review the procedure on how to shut off utilities and know where gas pilots are located and how heating and air conditioning systems work.

Fuel your car, review evacuation routes and be prepared to evacuate upon the recommendation of your local emergency management office.

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Floods

Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural hazards. Some floods develop-over a period of days, but flash floods can result in raging water in just a few minutes.

Listen to a radio or television station in your area. These stations will provide updated information and tell you what to do.

Keep a stock of food that requires no cooking or refrigeration. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.

Maintain a portable, battery-operated radio and flashlights in working order; stock extra batteries, and have first aid supplies and any medicines your family may need.

Learn your communities flood evacuation routes and where to find high ground.

If instructed, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves. Disconnect electrical appliances but do not touch any electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it! You and your car could be swept away.

After the flood subsides, check for structural damage before entering a building. Upon entering the building, use a battery-powered flashlight and watch for electrical shorts and live wires before making certain the main power switch is off.

Throw out any medicine or food that has been in contact with flood water.

DO NOT handle electrical equipment in wet areas and report broken utility lines to police, fire and other appropriate agencies.

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Heat waves

Heat can affect anyone. However, it is more likely to affect your children, elderly people and people with health problems. For instance, people with a medical condition that causes poor blood circulation and those who take medication to eliminate water from the body (diuretics) or for certain skin conditions may be more susceptible to heat. Consult with a physician if you have any questions about how your medication may affect your ability to tolerate heat.

Slow down, strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors. Dress for summer. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.

Avoid foods (such as proteins) that increase metabolic heat production and also increase water loss. Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty.

Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, or are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages. Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.

Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner spend some time each day during hot weather in an air conditioned environment to afford some protection.

Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.

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Power Outages and Downed Utility Lines

A power outage can be caused by storm activity or equipment failures when a tree, animal or other object comes into contact with an electrical line. Once located, trouble spots can be isolated and repaired, enabling service to be restored.

To make your situation easier and safer to deal with while your power company is working to restore your service, do the following:

Check with your neighbors and if you are the only one without power, or only a few appliances wont work, check to see if a fuse is blown or a circuit breaker is tripped. Contact your local utility company to report downed power lines, gas leaks or other dangerous conditions. And, listen to newscasts on a battery-operated radio.

During major power disruptions, those newscasts will often broadcast reports on the extent of the trouble and the approximate time electric service will be restored.

Turn off major appliances that should not be in operation when the power comes back on but DO leave a light on so you'll know when normal service has been restored. However, DO NOT use appliances if the light is dim, indicating low voltage.

Open refrigerators and freezers as infrequently as possible. Food will keep for hours if the opening of the doors is kept to a minimum. If the outage is lengthy, contact a dry ice distributor.

Stay away from downed lines and never touch them under any circumstances.

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Fire Emergencies

Plan two escape routes out of each room and practice fire drills at least twice a year. Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire and to never open doors that are hot. In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out.

Install smoke detectors on every level of your home. Clean and test them at least once a month and change batteries at least once a year.

Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken your household in case of fire, and, check your  electrical outlets to ensure they are not overloaded.

Purchase and learn how to use a fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type). Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house, and consider installing a home sprinkling system.

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West Nile Virus

According to the Bergen County Department of Health Services the West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus commonly found in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East. It was first identified in the U.S. in the late summer of 1999.

People become infected with West Nile Virus from the bite of an infected mosquito and mosquitoes become infected by biting birds which are infected with the virus. Some birds may die of the disease, but they are not known to transmit the disease to humans. Not all humans infected with the West Nile virus become ill. Most infections are mild.

Symptoms may develop within three to fifteen days. When symptoms develop, they may include fever, headache, stiff neck, muscle weakness and mental confusion. In rare cases, more severe infections may result in high fever, tremors, disorientation and other signs of increasing illness. Symptoms should be evaluated your healthcare provider.

People who live or work in areas where active cases have been identified are at risk of getting West Nile Virus if bitten by an infected mosquito. However, people over the age of 50 and those with weak immune systems are at greater risk for more serious illness. There is no specific treatment for West Nile Virus, nor is there a vaccine. Most people recover completely within two weeks. In more severe infections, supportive therapy may be needed.

There are many things you can do to reduce your risk or becoming infected with West Nile Virus, such as:  reducing mosquito breeding on your property, eliminating standing water by disposing of empty cans, buckets, flowerpots, old tires, trash cans, etc., cleaning clogged roof gutters, emptying plastic pools when not in use, and draining swimming pool covers. At least weekly, the water in bird baths and flush sump pits should be changed and ornamental pools should be stocked with goldfish.

Check and repair screens and screen doors. Stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active; which is usually at dawn and dusk. Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when you are outdoors. And avoid areas with heavy underbrush and trees.

Insect repellants containing permethrin may be sprayed on clothing to help prevent mosquitoes from biting through cloth.

If you find a dead bird in your yard or in the street DO NOT touch it. Instead, immediately call the Park Ridge, Montvale,- Woodcliff Lake Police Department at 201-391-6900.

More information on the West Nile Virus can be obtained on the Bergen County West Nile Virus Hotline phone at 201-225-7000, or, the Bergen County Department of Health Services at 201-599-6100 or online at www.bergenhealth.org/lines;  the Bergen County Mosquito Control Division at 201-599-6141; the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management online at www.bcoem.org; the Rutgers University Mosquito Research & Control Unit at 1-732-932-9341;  the Centers for Disease Control online at www.cdc.gov under Health Topics; and the State of New Jersey online at - www.state.nj.us/health; and the Environmental Protection Agency online at www.epa.gov/pesticides.

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Care of Special Needs Residents

People with disabilities often need more time than others to make necessary preparations in an emergency and the needs of older people often are similar to those of persons with disabilities.

Because disaster warnings are often given by audible means such as radio and TV announcements people who are deaf or have difficulty hearing may not receive early disaster warnings and emergency instructions. Be their source of emergency information as it comes over the radio or television. Some people who are blind or visually-impaired, especially older people, may be extremely reluctant to leave familiar surroundings when the request for evacuation comes from a stranger.

A guide dog could become confused or disoriented in a disaster. People who are blind or partially sighted may have to depend on others, as well as their dog, to lead them to safety during a disaster.

In most states, guide dogs will be allowed to stay in emergency shelters with owners. Check with your local emergency management officials for more information on their rules for guide dogs. People with impaired mobility are often concerned about being dropped when being lifted or carried. Find out the proper way to transfer or move someone in a wheelchair and what exit routes from buildings are best.

Some people with mental retardation may not be unable to understand the emergency and could become disoriented or confused about the proper way to react. Also, many respiratory illnesses can be aggravated by stress and, in an emergency, oxygen and respiratory equipment may not be readily available.

People with Epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and other conditions often have very individualized medication regimens that cannot be interrupted without serious consequences. And some may be unable to communicate this information in an emergency. So be ready to offer assistance if disaster strikes. If a disaster warning is issued check with neighbors or co-workers who are disabled. Offer assistance whenever possible. Prepare an emergency plan. Work with neighbors who are disabled to prepare an emergency response plan. Identify how you will contact each other and what action will be taken.

Be able to assist if an evacuation order is issued. Provide physical assistance in leaving the home or office and transferring to a vehicle. Provide transportation to a shelter. This may require a specialized vehicle designed to carry a wheelchair or other mobility equipment.

Create a self-help network of relatives, friends or co-workers to assist in an emergency. Self-help networks are arrangements by people who agree to assist an individual with a disability in an emergency. Discuss with a relative, friend or co-worker who has a disability what assistance he or she may need. Urge the person to keep a disaster supplies kit and suggest that you keep an extra copy of the list of special items such as medicines or special equipment that the person has prepared. Talk with the person about how to inform him or her of an oncoming disaster and see about getting a key to the persons house so you can provide assistance without delay.

Being prepared for emergencies can reduce the fear, panic, and inconvenience that surrounds a disaster. Maintain a list of the following important items and store it with the emergency supplies. Give a copy to another family member and a friend or neighbor.

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Pet Care in Emergencies

Plan how to take care of your pets. If you must evacuate, it is best to take your pets with you. However, pets (other than service animals) are not permitted in public shelters, according to many local health department regulations and because of other considerations.

Contact hotels and motels outside of your immediate area to check their policies on accepting pets and any restrictions on the number, size, and species. Ask if no pet policies could be waived in an emergency.

Ask friends, relatives, or others outside of your affected area whether they could shelter your animals. If you have more than one pet, they may be more comfortable if kept together, but be prepared to house them separately.

Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency and include 24-hour phone numbers. Also, ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster. But animal shelters may be overburdened, so this should be your last resort.

Keep a list of pet friendly places, including their phone numbers, with other disaster information and supplies. If you have notice of an impending disaster, call ahead for reservations.

Carry pets in a sturdy carrier. Animals may feel threatened by some disasters and become frightened or try to run.

Have proper identification, a collar, a leash, and proof of vaccinations for all pets. Veterinarian records may be required by some locations before they will allow you to board your pets. If your pet is lost an identification will help officials return it to you.

Assemble a portable pet disaster supplies kit. Keep food, water, and any special pet needs in an easy-to-carry container.

Have a current photo of your pets in case they get lost.

As a last resort, if you absolutely must leave your pets behind, prepare an emergency pen in your home that includes a three-day supply of dry food and a large container of fresh water.

Birds must eat daily to survive. In an emergency, you may have to leave your birds behind. Talk with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.

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