Office of Emergency Management
Power Outages & Blackouts
Power cuts can occur due to rolling blackouts, extreme weather conditions, or can accompany other disasters such as earthquakes. If there is no power in your dwelling or neighbourhood you should do the following:
- Turn off and unplug appliances and computers. Leave one light on to know when power has been restored.
- Avoid using candles, as they are fire hazards. Flashlights are your best solution.
- Do not use a gas stove for heating or operate generators indoors (including the garage). Both could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If a traffic signal is not working , treat it as a stop sign.
- Keep food cold. Keep doors to refrigerators and freezers closed to keep the cold inside. It is most important to keep meat , seafood and dairy products cold. If the outage is prolonged then a solution is an ice chest packed with ice or snow to keep the products cold. If food is cold to the touch and has not been above 45 degrees for more than one hour , it is probably safe to keep, use or refreeze. Throw away all meat , seafood and dairy products that do not feel cold. “When in doubt throw it out".
- If you use a battery operated wheelchair , life support system or other power dependent equipment , ensure that the power company and emergency services are aware of the required equipment.
- Do not touch any downed wires. All downed wires can be electrically charged. Contact utility company for assistance.
Terrorism may involve devastating acts using weapons of mass destruction. These weapons range from chemical agents, biological hazards, a radiological or nuclear device and other explosives. The primary objective of a terrorist is to create widespread fear.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Note the location of the emergency exits , pay phones, fire alarms and fire extinguishers.
- "If you see something, say something" Report suspicious objects, vehicles, or persons to public safety authorities. Do not touch any suspicious packages. Remove all persons from area until deemed safe by authorities.
- If travelling with others stay together.
If there is a terrorist attack or threat:
- Stay calm.
- Be vigilant. Look out for secondary hazards such as falling debris, suspicious packages or persons. Report any and all concerns to authorities.
- Follow instructions of emergency service personnel.
If there is an explosion:
- Take shelter against your desk or a sturdy table
- Exit the building ASAP
- DO NOT use the elevators
- Check for fire and other hazards
- Crawl low if there is smoke
Hurricanes and Floods
Prepare your family
Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Hurricanes come in many forms: Lightning, tornadoes, flooding, storm surge, high winds, even land / mud slides. Having a plan and knowing what to do is critical to protect you and your property.
- Make a family emergency plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes , so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together.
- If possible, install a generator for emergencies (outside).
- Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Cover your windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture , decorations, garbage cans, and anything else not tied down.
- Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting and keep doors closed. This will keep the food colder longer.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
- Turn off utilities as instructed, such as shutting off propane tanks.
- Fill up vehicles.
- Obtain all required medicines from pharmacy.
- Ensure your cell phone is fully charged.
- Locate a safe room or safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard.
- Make a plan for your pets.
- Stock non - perishable emergency supplies. Food for 3 to 7 days.
- Water at least 1 gallon person for 3 to 7 days.
- Obtain cash prior to storm.
- Do not drive into water within streets
Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure that exiting is safe.
- Drop to the ground and take cover by getting under a sturdy table or piece of furniture and hold on until the shaking stops. If there is no desk or furniture near you , cover your face and head with your arms and crouch down by a corner within the structure that you are in.
- You must stay away from all glass , windows, outside doors and if possible walls and most of all stay away from anything that is subject to falling such as light fixtures and furniture.
- If in bed when an earthquake strikes stay in bed. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow. Ensure nothing above you could fall and cause injury if so move away to a safer location.
- Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in proximity to you and if you know it is strongly supported ( load bearing doorway).
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. It is a proven fact that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
- Be aware that electricity may go out or the sprinkler system or fire alarm system may activate.
- DO NOT use elevators.
- Stay there.
- Move away from buildings, streetlights and all utility wires.
- Once in the open , stay there until the shaking stops. If in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings , trees, overpasses and utility wires.
- Once the earthquake has stopped proceed cautiously. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that may have been damaged from the earthquake. If trapped under debris • Do not light a match.
- Do not move around or kick up dust.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Shout only as a last resort. Excessive shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
Before A Tornado
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
- Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying clouds (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
- If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
During a Tornado - Inside
- Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.
- Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect you head and neck.
During a Tornado - Outside
- Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to dive to the closest sturdy shelter.
- If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
- Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible.
- If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
- Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Building features such as smoke detectors , fire sprinklers and modern construction used in today’s offices, apartments and hotels produce safe facilities.
- Know what you're expected to do, and participate in all drills.
- Learn the sound of your buildings fire alarm.
- Memorize the locations of the buildings fire alarm pull stations, and know how to use them.
- Know at least two escape routes from every room in your office, apartment or condo and know two exits from the building.
- Count the doors between your workstation or dwelling and the two nearest enclosed stairway exits. You may have to escape a fire in the dark.
- At home, agree on a meeting place where everyone will gather when they have been evacuated.
- Discuss the evacuation plan with all co-workers and all family members.
- Practice your escape every six months.
If You Leave the Building
- Exit quickly, closing all doors behind you to slow the spread of fire and smoke.
- If you have to escape through smoke, crawl low under the smoke on your hands and knees, keeping your head one to two feet above the floor, where the air will be cleanest.
- Never use an elevator to evacuate, unless directed by the Fire Department.
- Once you're out, tell the Fire Department if anyone is trapped in the building. Do not go back inside.
If You Are Unable to Escape to Safety
- If you have a portable phone , keep it with you.
- Call the Fire Department to tell them exactly where you are.
- Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or light colored cloth.
- If possible, open the window at the top and bottom. Do not break the window.
- Be ready to close the window quickly if smoke rushes in.
- If there is no fire in your area, close all fire doors and stay put.
- Stuff the cracks around the door and cover vents with a cloth to keep out smoke.
Emergency preparedness is no longer the sole concern of earthquake prone Californians and all those people who live in the place called tornado alley. For us preparedness must now account for manmade disasters and well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.
- Always be alert at work.
- Know your surroundings. Report anything out of the ordinary. “When in doubt call out." If you are not sure, ASK.
- Always communicate with your fellow colleagues.
- If things seem not right most likely you are right. Always ensure your fellow colleagues are safe from injury and illnesses.
- Ensure you and your colleagues follow all instructions given during emergencies.
- Participate in all drills conducted at your location. • Always lock up personnel belongings.
- Ensure you have comfortable shoes at your work area. These can be worn if evacuation is required.
- Know your Fire Alarm / evacuation procedures. Ensure you know who your Fire Team of wardens and searchers.
- Report any and all workplace violence.
- Ensure your office has an up to date list of all employees and contact information on your floor or department.
Participate in Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Management provides a framework for building organizational resilience, so that you can effectively respond to the impact on operations of potential threats to the organization.
What can you do?
- Register for a secondary e-mail, such as Gmail or Hotmail
- If you are critical staff, make sure that you have a MobileOffice license and use it to complete regular work tasks
- Work remotely (i.e. telecommute) on a consistent basis
- Back-up material that is essential for you to do your work and ensure that it is remotely accessible
- Practice communicating with your colleagues in different ways (i.e. Webex, BlackBerry Messenger, Skype or FaceTime)
- Follow key local emergency management agencies on Twitter
Remember that business continuity is YOUR responsibility
United Water 1-800-422-5987
Poison Control 1-800-222-1222