General Family Preparedness

General Family Preparedness

General Family Preparedness

Why Preparedness?

Family Disaster Supply Kit

4-Step Family Preparedness Plan

Preparing Children for Disaster

Special Preparations for People with Disabilities

Special Preparations for the Hearing Impaired

Special Preparations for the Visually Impaired

Evacuation Procedures

Preparing for Evacuation


Returning Home After the Disaster

When Disaster Strikes

The Role of Government After a Disaster

Emotional Recovery After a Disaster

Helping Children Cope After a Disaster

Food Safety

Precautions Against Power Outages

After a Power Outage

Tornado and Wind Related Contamination

Flooded Food Recovery

Food Safety After a Fire

Insurance and Resources After a Disaster

Special Post-Disaster Considerations

Restoring Flooded Water Systems

Disinfecting Wells

Disposing of Animal Carcasses

Additional Resources

Why Preparedness?

Disasters can affect any part of the United States at any time of the

year, swiftly and without warning. Most people don't think of a

disaster until it is too late; then they suddenly realize how

unprepared they are for the massive changes it makes in their lives.

Local officials can be overwhelmed and emergency response personnel

may not be able to reach everyone who needs help right away.

Each type of disaster requires clean up and recovery. The period

after a disaster is often very difficult for families, at times as

devastating as the disaster itself. Families that are prepared

ahead of time can reduce the fear, confusion and losses that come

with disaster. They can be ready to evacuate their homes, know what

to expect in public shelters and how to provide basic first aid.

Family Disaster Supply Kit

One of the first steps toward preparedness is the creation of a

family disaster supply kit. This will help families get through the

first few days after a disaster. Public shelter after a disaster may

not offer some of the basic necessities. The development of a kit

will make a stay in a public shelter more comfortable, should it be

necessary. Store the kit in a convenient place known to all family

members. Store items in airtight bags or containers. Replenish the

kit twice a year.

Include six basic items:



First Aid Kit

Tools and Supplies

Clothing and Bedding

Special Items


Store water in clean plastic containers such as thoroughly washed

• and rinsed soft drink bottles with tight fitting screw-on caps.

Store 1 gallon per day per family member (2 quarts for drinking, 2

• quarts for food preparation/ sanitation). Children, nursing mothers

• and ill people will need more.

A 3-day supply of water should be stored for every family member.

Replace water every 6 months.


Store at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods

that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or

no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Rotate these

foods into the regular diet frequently to keep the supply fresh. In

a disaster supply kit include:

Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables

Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)

Staples such as sugar, salt, pepper

High energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola

bars, trail mix

Vitamins, infant food and food for special diets

Comfort/stress foods such as cookies, hard candy, instant coffee,

tea bags

First Aid Kit

Assemble a first aid kit for the home and one for each vehicle. An

approved American Red Cross kit may be purchased, or one may be

assembled with the following items:

Sterile adhesive bandages (band-aids) in assorted sizes

2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6 of each)

Hypoallergenic adhesive tape

Triangular bandages (3)

2-inch and 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls each)



Moistened towelettes


Thermometer Tongue blades (2)


Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

Assorted sizes of safety pins and needles

Cleansing agent/soap

Latex gloves (2 pairs)

Non-prescription drugs

Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever

Anti-diarrhea medication and a Laxative

Antacid (for stomach upset)

Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison

Control Center)

Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Tools and Supplies

Various tools and supplies may be needed for temporary repairs or personal needs. Include these items in your disaster supply kit:

Battery operated radio and extra

Matches in waterproof container batteries

Aluminum foil

Flashlight and extra batteries

Plastic storage containers

Non-electric can opener, utility knife

Signal flare Paper, pencil

Map of the area (for locating shelters)

Needles, thread

Medicine dropper

Cash or traveler's checks, change

Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water

Fire extinguisher: small canister,

ABC type


Tube tent





Toilet paper

Soap, liquid detergent

Feminine hygiene supplies

Plastic sheeting

Mess kits or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils

Plastic bucket with tight lid


Personal hygiene items

Emergency preparedness manual

Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)

Household chlorine bleach

Clothing and Bedding

Your disaster supply kit should include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person. Items to include are:

Sturdy shoes or work boots

Thermal underwear

Rain gear Blankets or sleeping bags


Hat and gloves

Special Items

Family members may have special needs. Other items you may add to your kit include:

For Babies:




For Adults:

Heart and high blood pressure medication


Prescription drugs


Games and books

Important Family Documents:

Powdered milk


Denture needs

Contact lenses and supplies

Extra pair of eye glasses

Keep these in a waterproof, portable container.

Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds

Passports, social security cards, immunization records

Bank account numbers

Credit card account numbers and companies

Inventory of valuable goods, important telephone numbers

Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)

4-Step Family Preparedness Plan

In addition to your family disaster supply kit, develop a family

preparedness plan. This plan needs to be known to all family

members. A basic preparedness plan has four steps:

Do your homework

Create a family disaster plan

Make a checklist and periodically update it

Practice and maintain your plan

Do your homework

Find out what disasters could happen in your area. Contact your

local emergency management or civil defense office and American Red

Cross chapter to:

Learn which disasters are possible where you live and how these disasters might affect your family.

Request information on how to prepare and respond to each potential disaster.

Learn about your community's warning signals, what they sound like, what they mean and what actions you should take when they are activated.

Learn about local, state or federal assistance plans.

Find out about the emergency response plan for your workplace, your children's school or day-care center, as well as other places where your family spends time.

Develop a list of important telephone numbers (doctor, work, school, relatives) and keep it in a prominent place in your home.

Ask about animal care. Pets may not be allowed inside shelters because of health regulations.

Create a family disaster plan

Discuss with your family the need to prepare for disaster. Explain the danger of fire, severe weather (tornadoes, hurricanes) and floods to children. Develop a plan to share responsibilities and how to work together as a team.

Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to occur and how to respond.

Establish meeting places inside and outside your home, as well as outside the

neighborhood. Make sure everyone knows when and how to contact each other

if separated. Decide on the best escape routes from your home. Identify two

ways out of each room.

Plan how to take care of your pets.

Establish a family contact out-of-town (friend or relative). Call this person after the disaster to let them know where you are and if you are okay. Make sure everyone knows the contact's phone number.

Learn what to do if you are advised to evacuate.

Make a checklist and periodically update it

Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance,


Teach your children how and when to call 911 or your local EMS number for help.

Show each family member how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main valves or switches.

Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and have a

central place to keep it. Check it each year.

Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.

Conduct a home hazard hunt.

Stock emergency supplies and assemble a disaster supply kit.

Learn basic first aid. At the very least, each family member should know CPR, how to help someone who is choking and first aid for severe bleeding and shock.

The Red Cross offers basic training of this nature.

Identify safe places in your home to go for each type of disaster.

Check to be sure you have adequate insurance coverage.

Practice and maintain your plan

Test children's knowledge of the plan every 6 months so they remember

what to do.

Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills. Replace stored water

and food every 6 months.

Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries once a year.

And... In conjunction with the preparedness plan, working with

neighbors can save lives and property. Meet with neighbors to plan

how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster until help

arrives. Members of a neighborhood organization, such as a home

association or crime watch group, can introduce disaster preparedness

as a new activity.

Know your neighbors' special skills (medical, technical) and consider

how to help neighbors who have special needs, such as disabled and

elderly persons. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get


Preparing Children for Disaster

As you develop your preparedness plan, include children in the

planning process. Teach your children how to recognize danger

signals. Make sure they know what smoke detectors and other alarms

sound like. Make sure they know how and when to call for help. If

you live in a 9-1-1 service area, tell your child to call 9-1-1. If

not, check your telephone directory for the number. Keep all

emergency numbers posted by the phone. Help your children to

memorize important family information. They should memorize their

family name, phone number and address. They also should know where

to meet in case of an emergency. If children are not old enough to

memorize the information, they should carry a small index card to

give to an adult or babysitter that lists the emergency information.

Special Preparations for People with Disabilities

People with disabilities may need to take additional steps to prepare

for disaster. If you are disabled or know someone who is, the

following precautions should be taken.

Ask about special assistance that may be available to you in an emergency.

Many communities ask people with disabilities to register, usually with the fire

department or emergency management office, 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 (e.g.

providing services at another location should an evacuation be ordered).

Determine what you will need to do for each type of emergency. For example,

most people head for a basement when there is a tornado warning, but most

basements are not wheelchair accessible. Determine in advance what your

alternative shelter will be and how you will get there. 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.

If you or someone in your household uses a wheelchair, make more than

one exit from your home wheelchair accessible in case the primary exit is blocked.

Consider getting a medic alert system that will allow you to call for help if you are \

immobilized in an emergency.

Store back-up equipment, such as a manual wheelchair, at a neighbor's home,

school or your workplace.

Avoid possible hazards by fastening shelves to the wall and placing large, heavy

objects on the lower shelves or near the wall. Also hang pictures or mirrors

away from beds. Bolt large pictures or mirrors to the wall. Secure water heaters by

strapping them to a nearby wall.

Special Preparations for the Hearing Impaired

Deaf or hearing impaired individuals will have a more difficult time

communicating after a disaster. People may not realize you can't

hear warning signals and instructions, and may leave you behind. If

there is a power failure, your teletypewriter will be useless, and

communicating in the dark will require a flashlight. To avoid

potential problems you should:

Make sure you have a flashlight, pad and

pencil by your bed at home. Ask a neighbor to be your source of

information as it comes over the radio.

Remind co-workers that you can't hear an evacuation order.

If you are trapped in a room, knock on the door or hit objects

together to let others know you are there.

Special Preparations for the Visually Impaired

Blind or visually impaired individuals will have a difficult time

after a disaster if surroundings have been greatly disrupted. In

addition, seeing eye dogs may be too frightened or injured to be

reliable. Have an extra cane at home and work, even if you have a

seeing eye dog. If you are trapped, make noise to alert others.

Also keep in mind that, if electricity fails, blind people can assist

sighted people and potentially save lives.

Evacuation Procedures

Evacuations during a disaster are a common event. Evacuation

procedures vary by location and disaster. Contact your local

emergency management or civil defense office for specific

evacuation plans.

The amount of time you will have to evacuate depends on the

disaster. Some disasters, such as hurricanes, may allow several days to

prepare. Hazardous materials accidents may only allow moments

to leave. This means that preparation is essential since there

may not be time to collect the basic necessities.

Evacuations can last for several days. During this time you may be

responsible for part or all of your own food, clothing and other

supplies. o

Preparing for Evacuation o

Evacuating o

Returning Home After the Disaster

Preparing for Evacuation

Advance planning will make evacuation procedures easier. First, you

should have your family disaster supply kit and plan ready.

Additional steps that can aid preparedness include:

Review possible evacuation procedures with your family.

Ask a friend or relative outside your area to be the check-in

contact so that everyone in the family can call that person

to say they are safe.

Find out where children will be sent if they are in school when

an evacuation is announced.

Plan now where you would go if you had to evacuate.

Consider the homes of relatives or friends who live nearby, but

outside the area of potential disaster. Contact the local emergency

management office for community evacuation plans. Review public

information to identify reception areas and shelter areas.

Keep fuel in your car's gas tank at all times. During emergencies,

filling stations may be closed. Never store extra fuel in the garage.

If you do not have a car or other vehicle, make transportation

arrangements with friends, neighbors or your local emergency

management office.

Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main

switches and valves. Make sure you have the tools you need to do

this (usually pipe and crescent or adjustable wrenches). Check

with your local utilities for instructions.


When you are told to evacuate there are four steps you need to take:

1. If there is time, secure your house.

Unplug appliances.

In a flood hazard area, store propane tanks or secure them

safely to the structure.

Turn off the main water valve.

Take any actions needed to prevent damage to water pipes by

freezing weather, if this is a threat. Securely close and

lock all doors, windows and garage.

2. Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts,

they may be blocked.

3. Listen to the radio for emergency shelter information.

4. Carry your family disaster supply kit.

Returning Home After the Disaster

1. Do not return until the local authorities say it is safe.

2. Continue listening to the radio for information and instructions.

3. Use extreme caution when entering or working in buildings structures may have

been damaged or weakened. Watch for poisonous snakes in flooded structures

and debris.

4. Do not take lanterns, torches or any kind of flame into a damaged building. There

may be leaking gas or other flammable materials present. Use battery-operated

flashlights for light. If you suspect a gas leak, do not use any kind of light. The

light itself could cause an explosion.

5. If you smell leaking gas, turn off the main gas valve at the meter.

If you can open windows safely, do so.

Do not turn on lights they can produce sparks that may ignite the gas. Leave the

house immediately and notify the gas company or the fire department.

Do not reenter the house until an authorized person tells you it is safe to do so.

6. Notify the power company or fire department if you see fallen or damaged electrical wires.

7. If any of your appliances are wet, turn off the main electrical power switch in your

home before you unplug them. Dry out appliances, wall switches and sockets

before you plug them in again. Call utility companies for assistance.

8. Check food and water supplies for contamination and spoilage before using them.

9. Wear sturdy shoes when walking through broken glass or debris,

and use heavy gloves when removing debris.

10. After the emergency is over, telephone your family and friends to tell them you

are safe.

When Disaster Strikes

Hopefully you will never have to experience disaster. When it does

happen, however, try to remain calm and patient and put your family

preparedness plan into action. You should follow the following

steps: o

Retrieve your disaster supply kit. o

Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes. o

Confine or secure pets to protect them. o

Go to the safe place in your home you identified and stay there

until well after the disaster is over. o

Listen to your battery-powered radio for news and instructions. o

Evacuate, if advised to do so.

The Role of Government After a Disaster

After a preliminary damage assessment report has been completed, the

governor of a state can request a major disaster or emergency

declaration from the president.

Declaration of an Emergency. The president can issue a Declaration

of Emergency to supplement the state and local effort to save lives

and protect property. The president can act only after a state

governor has requested a Declaration of an Emergency be issued.

Total assistance provided in any given emergency declaration may not

exceed $5 million. Declaration of a Major Disaster. A major

disaster declaration may be requested by the governor to the

president after a natural catastrophe occurs. Assistance is offered

to both the public and private sectors. With the declaration, the

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has the authority to

engage the services of 12 federal departments, two agencies, one

commission, one corporation and one authority offering 97 different

Federal assistance programs. These 97 programs provide many

different services to help people and state and local governments

deal with recovery from a disaster. A listing of the main agencies

that provide assistance can be found in General Family Preparedness,

Insurance and Resources After a Disaster.

Emotional Recovery After a Disaster

In addition to the physical damage a disaster brings, stress and

emotional disequilibria need to be addressed by victims. Steps you

can take to reduce the effects of a disaster include:

Be extra patient.

Keep in mind that other people may have a different viewpoint about

what should be top priority.

Realize that it will take time to restore things, both physically

and emotionally.

Try to keep your family diet as nutritious as possible.

Focus on the big picture instead of the little details. This will

give you a sense of completeness.

Talk with friends, family and clergy. A support network is

essential in a disaster situation.

Watch for the tendency to resort to bad habits when you are under


If you are dealing with disaster victims, realize that it's natural for them to express

disbelief, sadness, anger, anxiety and depression. Also realize that these emotions

and moods can change unexpectedly.

Helping Children Cope After a Disaster

Children may require special attention after experiencing a

disaster. Four common fears children have are death, darkness,

animals and abandonment. In a disaster children may experience any

or all of these. You should encourage children to talk about what

they are feeling and to express this through play, drawing or


A child's reaction to a disaster may vary depending on age, maturity

and previous experience. In all cases it is important to acknowledge

what happened and take time to talk with children about their fears.

Some behaviors you may find children exhibiting after a disaster


Being upset at the loss of a favorite toy, blanket, teddy bear, etc.

Hitting, throwing or kicking to show their anger and frustration.

Fear of the disaster coming again.

Fear of being left alone or sleeping alone. They may want to sleep

with another person.

Behaving as they did when they were younger, including wetting

the bed, sucking their thumb, wanting to be held, etc.

Exhibiting symptoms of illness such as nausea, fever, headaches,

not wanting to eat, etc.

Becoming quiet and withdrawn. Becoming easily upset.

Feeling that they caused the disaster in some way.

Feeling neglected by parents who are busy cleaning up or rebuilding.

Refusing to go to school or to be out of the parent's sight.

Parents and other adults can help children come to terms with their

feelings in several ways.

Let children know you love them and they can count on you.

Reassure them that they are not responsible for what occurred.

Talk with your children about your own feelings.

Give simple, accurate answers to children's questions.

Hold them. Close contact assures children you are there for

them and will not abandon them.

Let children grieve for a lost toy or blanket that was special

to them. It will help them cope with their feelings.

Provide play experiences to relieve stress.

Repeat assurances and information as often as you need to; do not

stop responding.

Spend extra time putting children to bed at night.

Listen to what children say. Repeat their words to clarify what

they are feeling. If additional help is needed for adults or

children, contact a community resource such as a counseling

center, minister or mental health agency.

Food Safety

Food safety precautions can make an important difference after a

disaster occurs. Food can become contaminated as a result of fire,

flood and wind related exposure. It also may spoil or become unsafe

after a power outage.

Precautions Against Power Outages

If your area comes under an advisory that may lead to prolonged power

outages (hurricanes, prolonged flooding, etc.) take these steps to

help keep your food safe:

Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. This

will help the food stay frozen. Purchase a 50-pound block of dry ice.

This will keep food in a full 18 cubic foot freezer safe for 2

days. Wrap it in brown paper for longer storage. Separate it

from direct food contact with a piece of cardboard.

Fill partially filled freezers with crumpled newspaper to reduce

air currents which will dissipate dry ice.

After a Power Outage

If you should lose power, the emergency food supplies in your family

disaster supply kit will be safe. Food in the refrigerator and

freezer may be in trouble.

Generally, food in a refrigerator will be safe if the power is not out longer than a few

hours and the temperature has been at 40øF or below. Food in a full, free-standing

freezer should be safe for about 2 days if the temperature was at 0øFor below. Food in

a half-full freezer should be safe for about 1 day if the temperature was at 0øF or

below. To prolong the life of your food the following measures should be taken.

Group meat and poultry to one side, or on a tray, so their juices won't contaminate

other foods if they begin to thaw.

Be wary of using meat, poultry and foods containing milk, cream, sour cream or soft


Don't rely on odor or appearance of food. If perishable food has been at room

temperature for more than 2 hours, discard it.

In emergency conditions, the following foods should keep at room temperature (above

40øF) a few days.

Discard anything that turns moldy or has an unusual odor or look.

Butter, margarine

Fruit juices

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh herbs and spices

Dried fruits and coconut

Flour and nuts

Opened jars of salad dressing, peanut butter, jelly, relish, taco

Fruit pies sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, catsup, olives

Bread, rolls, cakes and muffins

Hard and processed cheeses

Discard the following foods if kept for more than 2 hours above 40øF.

Raw or cooked meat, poultry and


Meat topped pizzas, lunchmeats

Milk, cream, yogurt, soft cheese

Casseroles, stews or soups

Cooked pasta, pasta salads

Mayonnaise and tartar sauce

Custard, chiffon or cheese pies

Refrigerator and cookie dough’s

Fresh eggs, egg substitutes

Cream filled pastries

Refreeze thawed foods that still contain ice crystals or feel cold.

Tornado and Wind Related Contamination

If you live in an area that has sustained tornado or wind damage,

take the following measures.

Drink only approved or chlorinated water.

Consider all water from wells, cisterns and other delivery systems in the disaster area unsafe until tested. Check foods and discard any containing particles of glass or slivers of other debris.

Discard canned foods with broken seams.

Flooded Food Recovery

Flood waters may carry contaminants such as silt, raw sewage or

chemical waste. Disease bacteria in the water also can contaminate

any food it touches. If you have experienced flood conditions,

follow these guidelines:

Save undamaged commercially canned foods (except as noted later).

Do not use home-canned foods that have been covered with floodwater.

Commercial glass jars of food are safe if the containers are sanitized (except as noted later).

Remove the labels from jars and cans and mark the contents on can or jar lid with indelible ink. Paper can harbor dangerous bacteria.

To sanitize jars, cans, dishes and glassware, wash in a strong detergent solution with a scrub brush. After washing, immerse them in a solution of 2 teaspoons chlorine bleach per gallon of room temperature water. Air dry before using. If needed, clean empty glass also may be sanitized by boiling in water for 10 minutes. To sanitize metal pans and utensils, boil in water for 10 minutes.

Discard wooden and plastic utensils, baby nipples, pacifiers and any other porous nonfood items that are used with food. Discard the following foods:

Meat, poultry, fish and eggs

Spices, seasonings and extracts

Fresh produce

Home-canned foods

Preserves sealed with paraffin

Opened containers and packages

Unopened jars with waxed cardboard seals such as mayonnaise and salad dressing

Flour, grain, sugar, coffee and other staples in canisters

All foods in cardboard boxes, paper, foil, cellophane or cloth

Dented, leaking, bulging or rusted cans

Food Safety After a Fire

Food that has been exposed to fire can be affected by three factors:

• the heat of the fire

• smoke fumes

• the chemicals used to fight the fire

Food in cans or jars that have been close to the heat of the fire may

appear to be unharmed, but the heat from the fire can activate food

spoilage bacteria, leaving them inedible.

Burning materials may release toxic fumes that contaminate food.

Discard any type of food stored in permeable packaging such as

cardboard or plastic wrap. Discard raw food outside the

refrigerator. Food in refrigerators and freezers also may be

contaminated. The seal on these appliances is not completely

airtight. Discard any food with an off-flavor or smell. The

chemicals used to fight fires contain toxic material that can

contaminate food and cookware. Throw away foods exposed to the

chemicals. Chemicals cannot be washed off the food. This includes

foods stored at room temperature, as well as foods stored in

permeable containers such as cardboard and screw-topped jars and


Sanitize canned goods and cookware in the same method as recommended

for flooded foods.

Insurance and Resources After a Disaster

Most homeowner policies offer coverage for losses due to natural

disasters except flooding. If you are unsure what your policy

covers, check it before a disaster happens. Contact your agent for

clarification if you are still unsure. In general most insurance

policies cover:

Your house, rental units that are part of the building and any attachments to the building, such as the garage.

Structures on the grounds that are not attached to the house, such as a pool, gazebo, tool shed, etc. This also includes the lawn, trees and shrubs on the property.

Vacant land you own or rent, with the exception of farmland.

Cemetery plots or burial vaults you may own.

Personal possessions, including those of members of your household and guests, and contents of the house. This does not include the possessions of tenants in your home.

Any items that have been loaned to you, or given for safe keeping.

Living expense if your home is unlivable due to damage.

Rental payments, if you rent one part of your house but it is unlivable due to damage.

Responsibility for unauthorized use of your credit cards, forged checks or counterfeit currency accepted in good faith.

Settlement, medical expenses and court costs brought against you for bodily injury of others or damage to the property of others.

Most homeowner policies DO NOT cover loss due to flooding. You

should check to see if your community participates in the National

Flood Insurance Program.

If you need financial assistance, programs are available. Programs


The Ame rican Red Cross...offers emergency assistance for groceries, new clothes,

medical needs and immediate building repairs.

Farmers Home Administration (FmHA)...offers agricultural loans only when other

credit is not available. Qualifying farmers can get short-, medium- or long-term loans

with moderate interest.

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC)...Farmers can insure crops for 50, 65 or

75 percent of yield. Unavoidable losses due to any adverse weather conditions

including drought, excessive moisture, hail, wind, hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning

are covered. Unavoidable losses due to insect infestations, plant diseases, floods, fires

and earthquakes also are covered. You must have this insurance prior to the disaster.

Small Business Administration (SBA)...offers medium- and long-term loans for

rebuilding non-farm homes and small businesses with moderate interest rates.

Commercial and federal land banks offer loans for home repair and improvement, land,

equipment and livestock. Insurance companies offer long-term loans at relatively high

interest for the same things. Assistance also may be available through a variety of state

or local agencies and volunteer groups. Listen to your battery operated radio after a

disaster for information on disaster relief services and locations.

Non-financial resources also are available to many disaster victims.

Technical assistance is available from:

The Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS)...for information

on livestock and wildlife feeding, production and conservation practices.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)...offers technical

assistance on animal and plant pests and diseases.

Extension Service-USDA...offers information, educational material and advice on


The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)...can be reached toll free at (800) 535-

4555 for questions on the safe handling of meat and poultry.

Special Post-Disaster Considerations

Restoring Flooded Water Systems

1. Do not start submerged electric motors until they have been cleaned, dried and

checked for safety.

Disconnect the motor. An ejector or jet pump motor may be a separate unit mounted on the pump, or the end bell of the motor may be part of the pump. The separate motor unit can be disconnected and serviced easily. With the second type, remove the pump and motor as a unit. It is not necessary to remove the drop pipes.

Take the motor to an electrical repair shop. In the shop, the motor should be checked for any short circuits or grounding caused by moisture. If the motor was submerged in mud and water, it should be thoroughly cleaned. Windings should be dried in a drying oven. The bearings should be lubricated before you use the motor again.

Clean and dry electrical controls and pressure switches. Check all wiring for short circuits.

2. Pumps usually are damaged by sediment deposited in the bearings. Clean pumps.

Check valves for silt and sand. Remove all dirt and water from the gears in the gear

box and replace the lubricant with fresh oil.

Submersible pumps. The bearings on water-lubricated pumps will not be damaged by flood waters, since these bearings are constantly submerged in water. As soon as possible, flush clean water down the casing to remove sediment and silt. Then disinfect the well.

Centrifugal pumps. Many centrifugal pumps contain two sets of oil-lubricated bearings along the drive shaft between the motor and the pump. If the pump has been flooded, dismantle the container bracket and remove the bearings.

Clean the bearings, or install new bearings if the old ones are worn out.

Close-coupled centrifugal pumps contain no bearings, so there is little chance of flood damage except to the electric motor.

3. Injector-type pumps. These pumps usually contain watertight packing at the

ground surface, with sealed impellers. Floodwaters probably will not damage this

type of pump.

4. The storage tank and piping should be all right unless muddy water was pumped

through it. If tank is contaminated, disinfect the entire system with a strong chlorine

solution. Use 1-quart household laundry bleach or check with local health

department for recommended solution strength.

Open all faucets while the system is being filled. Do not close the spigot until a

definite smell of chlorine is evident. Do not use the system for 24 hours. Then start

the pump and run water from all faucets until the chlorine odor is gone.

5. Wells probably will not be damaged structurally from floods, but they may be

contaminated. Have your well tested by health officials before you use the water.

6. If the well is located in a low spot, it may be contaminated with silt from floodwaters

draining into it. If so, the well and entire water system should be disinfected. To

disinfect the well system:

Pump the well until water is clear.

Pour a solution of 1 quart liquid laundry bleach (Clorox , Purex , Hilex or a similar hypochlorite solution) mixed in 3 gallons of water into the well casing.

Leave it there at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

Pump the chlorinated water into the piping system, and leave it there for at least

2 hours or even overnight.

The next day, pump and flush out the system until the taste and odor of chlorine are no longer apparent. Two days after you have disinfected the water system take a sample of water according to recommended procedures and have it tested for purity. Boil or treat all drinking water until a water test indicates that water is safe for all purposes.

7. Do not drink water from a flooded cistern until you disinfect the cistern and the

entire piping system. To disinfect the cistern:

Use an auxiliary pump to remove the water and empty the cistern. Do not pump water through the pipeline distribution system.

Wash down the walls and ceiling with clean water, and pump out the dirty water

with an auxiliary pump.

Check the cistern walls, ceiling and floor for cracks where groundwater could

come in.

Disinfect the interior with a solution of 1 quart laundry bleach in 3 gallons of water. Be sure the bleach contains no soap. Apply the chlorine solution with a sprayer or scrub with a stiff broom.

Swab or pump out the disinfecting solution that collects in the bottom of the


Leave the chlorine solution in the pipes for at least 2 hours (overnight if possible) before you drain them.

Fill the cistern with water for use. This water will have a chlorine taste for awhile, but it will be safe for all purposes.

8. Regenerate water softeners before you use them. Use clean chlorinated water to

backwash the filter bed.

Disinfecting Wells

Disinfect flooded wells before they are used as a source of drinking

water. To disinfect a well:

1. Scrub the pump room and wash all equipment, including piping, pump and pressure tank.

2. Remove the well seal at the top of the casing. Pour a solution of 1 quart laundry bleach and 3 gallons of water into the top of the well. Pour the solution so it washes down the inside of the casing and the outside of the drop pipes. In some wells you will need only to remove a plug from the seal to pour the solution into the well.

3. Leave the solution in the well about 4 hours. Then pump it into the pressure tank and distribution system.

4. Draw the chlorinated water into all piping by opening each faucet until the odor of chlorine is apparent. Leave the chlorine in the piping at least 2 hours. Then run the water until the taste and odor are no longer objectionable.

Disposing of Animal Carcasses

1. Prompt and sanitary disposal of animal carcasses is necessary to protect the living

animals in an area from disease.

2. Search all pastures for dead animals as soon as possible. Carcasses may have

some commercial value, so send them to a rendering plant if possible.

3. If rendering is impractical, dispose of the dead animals on the premises. Use the

following procedure:

Immediately after finding a carcass, cover it with crude oil or kerosene to keep away dogs, buzzards and vermin.

Fat swine are the only animal carcasses that will burn satisfactorily. Used railroad ties can be used as starters.

Bury other carcasses. Use power equipment if it is available. Choose a site where subsurface drainage will not reach water supplies.

Bury the carcasses at least 3 to 4 feet deep so predatory animals won't be able to reach them. If quicklime is available, cover carcasses with it before filling.

Quicklime will hasten decomposition.

Additional Resources

For further information on disaster preparedness or recovery, the

following resources are suggested:

Small Business Administration 1-800-827-5722

Contact your local American Red Cross chapter or write to FEMA, P.O.

Box 70274, Washington, D.C. 20024 for the following information:

Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit. Federal Emergency Management

Agency brochure L-189 and American Red Cross brochure 4463, March 1992.

Your Family Disaster Plan. Federal Emergency Management Agency brochure L-191 and American Red Cross brochure 4466, September 1991.

Emergency Preparedness Checklist. Federal Emergency Management

Agency and American Red Cross brochure 44471, November 1991.

Helping Children Cope with Disaster. Federal Emergency Management

Agency and American Red Cross brochure 4499, September 1992.

Preparing for Emergencies: A Checklist for People with Mobility

Problems. Federal Emergency Management Agency brochure L-154(M) and

American Red Cross brochure 4497, October 1992.

The following are available from the Federal Emergency Management


Preparedness for People with Disabilities. Earthquake Hazard

Reduction Series 9, FEMA 75.

Are You Ready? H-34, Item #8-0908.

Information in this document was compiled by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center

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