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Emergency preparedness

Emergency preparedness resources to assist patients before, during and after a local emergency.

Prepare for an emergency

Make a plan

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you will contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that is familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put a plan together by discussing the questions below with your family, friends or household to start your emergency plan

Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household

Step 3: Fill out a family emergency plan

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Health information card

An emergency health information card communicates to first responders what they need to know about you if they find you unconscious, incoherent or if they need to quickly help you evacuate. An emergency health information card should contain information about any disabilities, medications, any equipment you use, allergies, communication difficulties you may have, preferred treatment and medical providers, and emergency contacts.

Print the emergency health information card located below and complete it with a permanent ink pen. Make multiple copies of the card to keep in emergency supply kits, car, wallet or purse, wheelchair pack, etc. 

Watch out for alerts and storm severity

Part of preparing for a storm or a tornado is understanding the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast products, especially the Winter Storm Severity Index. Look out for:

  • Storm surge warning: The danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 30 hours.
  • Extreme wind warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.

Winter weather

Winter storms can bring snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Stay safe before, during and after a storm by paying attention to winter alerts, hazard warnings, snowfall and other messaging.

Winter safety kit for your vehicle

Build an emergency supply kit for your vehicle to prepare for winter weather. You never know when you will encounter winter weather or an emergency road closure. We advise keeping these items in your vehicle:

  • Cell phone charger
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Spare tire
  • Flares
  • Full tank of gas
  • Sand or kitty litter
  • Tow rope
  • Blankets
  • Snow shovel and brush
  • Flashlight
  • Water and non-perishable snacks
  • Mittens, hat, boots and warm clothes

Stay off the roads during hazardous winter weather whenever possible. If you absolutely have to venture out, be sure to have emergency supplies in your vehicle, and that your mobile phone is fully charged -- it could become your lifeline if disaster should strike. 

How to spot frostbite or hypothermia

Victims of frostbite are often unaware because frozen tissue is numb. Look for these signs and symptoms:

  • Redness or pain in any skin area may be the first sign of frostbite
  • A white or yellowish skin area
  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
  • Numbness

Hypothermia often occurs at very cold temperatures but can occur at cool temperatures (above 40 degrees Fahrenheit ), if a person is wet (from rain, sweat or cold water) and becomes chilled. Look for these signs and symptoms:

  • Adults
    • Shivering
    • Exhaustion
    • Confusion
    • Fumbling hands
    • Memory loss
    • Slurred speech
    • Drowsiness
  • Infants
    • Bright red, cold skin
    • Very low energy

If a person's temperature is below 95 degree Fahrenheit get medical attention immediately.


Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes can destroy buildings, flip cars, and create deadly flying debris.

During a tornado

Pay close attention to changing weather conditions in your area. If you know thunderstorms are expected, stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or an NOAA weather radio for further weather information. Some tornadoes strike rapidly without time for a tornado warning. The following weather signs may mean that a tornado is approaching:

  • A dark or green-colored sky
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud
  • Large hail
  • A loud roar that sounds like a freight train

If you notice any of these conditions, take cover immediately, and keep tuned to local radio and TV stations or to a NOAA weather radio or check the internet.

Know when to shelter

Falling and flying debris causes most deaths and injuries during a tornado. Although there is no completely safe place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others.

  • Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway).
  • If possible, avoid sheltering in a room with windows.
  • For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available.
  • Do not stay in a mobile home.

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