- All of us should be prepared to survive comfortably on our own for at least 3 days (72 hours) — and maybe longer — following an incident. Power outages are almost always going to impact the length we should be self-sustaining — try to keep this in perspective when building your personal or family emergency response plan.
- The time to prepare is before an incident occurs.
- Participate in open discussion with family members about response planning.
Communication is a key component of emergency preparedness — and can make a real difference in your situation and outcomes. Be sure to follow Loyola Emergency Communications - and keep your contact information up to date! And, be sure your loved ones know your plans.
Have a Plan
As General Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.”
Regardless of your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the most important safety element is to remain calm and NOT panic.
It also always helps to have a plan. Here are some general guidelines below to help you stay calm and prepared for an emergency. To create your own personal or family plan, you can find a plan template and additional planning advice on the NOLAReady website, a hub for emergency preparedness and response in New Orleans.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date in Loyola’s emergency notification system. In addition, many local communities (Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Tammany and St. Bernard Parishes) now have systems that will send instant text alerts or e-mails to let you know about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc. For New Orleans, visit ready.nola.gov.
- One recurring theme throughout disasters is the fact many people could become separated from loved ones. An important decision is whether you should stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities.
- Use common sense and available information, to determine if there is an immediate danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do.
- As long as there is electricity, stay tuned to your local media, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for information or official instruction as it becomes available. Key information sources can be found here.
- Discuss with your family a primary and secondary place to reunite, in any major emergency. Determine a specific location or two and educate everyone of these points.
- Identify an out-of-town contact. It may be easier to call or text long-distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. This person could also serve as a “rally point” for your family/loved ones should separation from each other be extended. Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has the ability to call the emergency contact.
- Ensure that you and your loved ones communicate about local and/or personal emergencies as well. Program a designated person as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your “ICE” listings in order to contact someone you know.
- Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts. For example, you could have multiple: ICE Mom, ICE Dad, ICE Sister, ICE Mary, etc. Or even go as far as to have “ICE Out of town” to highlight your out of town emergency contact.)
Build an Emergency Go-Kit
Your Emergency Go-Kit should reflect your own needs. However, it is critically important to understand that, depending on the emergency, weight and volume could become a factor. Overstocking your bag with non-critical items will slow you down and could prevent you from being as mobile as needed or even prevent you from carrying it altogether.
Click here for a checklist of possible items you may want to consider packing, in case of an emergency evacuation.
Remember to refresh your kit each year to check shelf-life of items (batteries corrode and food expires, for example) and to ensure properly operating equipment.
There are plenty of sources for you to reference as you build your kit, such as:
Check the NOLAReady website for more tips and resources about personal and family hurricane planning as well as building your own customized “go kits."