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Have you ever taken a trip without a plan? Did you find yourself wasting fuel, time, and your originally good attitude? The initial bright idea turns out to be frustrating, stressful, and costly because you did not have an organized approach to the trip.
You can make surviving a disaster easier by taking an organized approach to survival. Follow these basic tips at home and at work.


Identify yourself


Make sure your address is clearly visible to emergency responders, who will waste valuable time trying to locate you if your address is hard to find. Be sure that the numbers on your house or business are large enough to be seen from the road. You can also place numbers on the curb and on your mailbox.


Create a communications network


At home—Create an emergency contact list and keep it visible near the telephone. Include your address and directions to your home or business on the back of the contact list. This information could be critical in an emergency. For example, a babysitter or an overnight guest should be able to quickly provide your address and direction to your home or business to an emergency operator.
On the road—Give each member of your household the phone numbers of other household members and of an out-of-town contact in case the others can’t be reached. Add these numbers to cell phone directories. It’s also helpful to keep these numbers on a wallet-sized card to use in case phones are not charged or cell towers are inaccessible.
At work—Give the human resources department and appropriate colleagues your cell, home, and emergency contact numbers. Identify individuals in your business to call in an emergency. 
Draw a map
At home—Develop evacuation routes from your home and practice getting out. Make sure every household member knows what to do and where to meet outside. Being able to escape your home can mean the difference between life and death.
On the road—Get a map of your area and mark the ways you can evacuate if the authorities direct you to leave. Choose a Sunday afternoon for you and other drivers in your household to learn these routes. Drive each one so you will know the turns and potential road blocks and can prioritize them depending on the emergency circumstances.
At work—Know the exit routes and rendezvous locations. If your office doesn’t have a written emergency evacuation plan, work with your emergency manager to develop and publicize one.
Decide what matters most
At home—If you have pets, decide how you will take care of them during and following an emergency. For example, if you safely evacuate with your pets but you cannot return to your house for a period of time, what will you do with your animals?
Determine what records you need to take with you and which ones can be recovered from a distance.  Also consider what personal photos, letters, and books are most important to you, and decide how you will collect them if you must leave in a hurry.
On the road—Build an emergency roadside kit for your car. Include local maps, water, and nonperishable food. Make sure your vehicles are in good working condition so you can leave quickly if ordered to do so. If you know that a storm is imminent and that you may have to leave, make sure your vehicle has fuel and you have cash in hand.
At work—Maintain current backups of important files and records. Consider keeping at least one copy of important records in a location away from the office, on a flash drive, or on an off-site server. Have a plan for moving equipment and furniture to higher ground if necessary. Decide what functions must continue following a disaster and then determine how they will get done and by whom.
This month marks the eighth annual campaign to encourage citizens to prepare themselves and their communities for disaster. Having a plan helps you be prepared to cope with an emergency or a disaster.
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