The images from Haiti continue to illustrate the devastating impact of natural disasters. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working hard to support the international response effort to help our neighbors recover from this tragedy.
Emergency preparation may not be possible for every individual, or for every type of emergency, but we cannot overstate the importance of preparedness planning. The U.S. federal government, along with many of our partners in the private sector, provides abundant resources for preparing your family for disasters.
We encourage you to utilize these resources and prepare your family to the fullest extent you can. If you live in a region prone to earthquakes, you are probably aware of the risks they pose. Knowing the risks within your community is the first step in evaluating the preparedness level of your family. DHS encourages you to research the potential risks in your area, evaluate how you should best respond, and prepare your family accordingly. Forethought and planning will help you make sound decisions during a crisis and keep your family safe.
Consider the following tips for preparing your family for emergencies: Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website and click any state to see the common local risks and how to best respond. Find out what your community is doing to prepare for emergencies and volunteer. Visit the websites of organizations and government programs like Ready.gov, Citizen Corps, and the National Safety Council and utilize the resources they provide. Subscribe to the free Citizen Corps news email service for community preparedness news and updates. Visit the website of the Home Safety Council to learn how you can make your home safer for you and your family.
Take classes in lifesaving skills, such as CPR/AED and first aid, or in emergency response, such as CERT. Work with parent-teacher organizations to discuss how you can support their emergency plans and drills. The Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools and Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools will have information on school emergency preparedness and response. Help children prepare for emergencies at their own pace and maturity level. Monetary contributions remain the best way to support the relief efforts in Haiti.