Emergency Management

Winter Weather Survival Page


Hancock County Emergency Management
875 State Street
P.O. Box 70
Garner, Iowa 50438-0070

Garner Office: 641-923-2702
Forest City Office: 641-585-1942
Cell: 641-843-8202
Hancock County Email
Winnebago County Email

June 18, 1994 Garner, Iowa Tornado

During a disaster it is of the utmost importance that people protect themselves first. In the list below there are some helpful hints that could aid in alleviating the effects of a disaster on you and your family. Your local emergency management office can assist you with any of these planning needs and offer help and information regarding a wide variety of of emergency planning.


Family Emergency Plan

Step One
Find Out What Could Happen to You!
Contact your local Emergency Management Office (923-2702) or American Red Cross Chapter.

Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Request information on how to prepare for each.

  • Learn about your community's warning signals: What they sound like and what you should do when you hear them.
  • Ask about animal care after disaster. Animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations.
  • Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons; if needed.
  • Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or day care center and other places where your family spends time.

Step Two
Create a Disaster Plan

Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.

Pick two places to meet:

  1. Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. Make sure to specify the exact meeting location.
  2. Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone MUST know the address and phone number.

Ask an out-of-state friend or family member to be your "family contact". After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone MUST know your contact's phone number.

  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation
  • Plan how to take care of your pets.

Step Three
Complete This Checklist

  • Post emergency numbers by phones (fire, police,ambulance, etc.)
  • Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local emergency numbers for emergency help.
  • Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at them main switches.
  • Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
  • Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it's kept.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Conduct a home hazard hunt.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Take a Red Cross First Aid and CPR class.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  • Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.

Step Four
Practice and Maintain Your Plan

  • Quiz your kids every six months so they remember what to do.
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
  • Replace stored water every 3 months and stored food every six months.
  • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.



Fire Safety

  • Plan two escape routes out of each room.
  • Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire.
  • Teach family members never to open doors that are hot. In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out.
  • Install smoke detectors. Clean and test smoke detector once a month. Change batteries at least once a year.
  • Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household members in case of a fire.
  • Check electrical outlets. Do not overload outlets.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher. (5 pound, ABC type)
  • Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house.
  • Consider installing home sprinklers

Disaster Supplies Kit

  • A supply of water (one gallon of water per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every three months.
  • A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • A first aid kit and prescription medications
  • An extra pair of glasses.
  • A battery powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
  • Credit cards and cash
  • An extra set of car keys
  • A list of family physicians
  • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.

Home Hazard Hunt
In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard. Below are things to look for prior to a disaster or emergency.

  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
  • Fasten shelves securely.
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Hang Pictures and mirrors away from beds.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs.
  • Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products away from heat sources.
  • Place oily rags or waste in covered metal cans.
  • Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.

If You Need to Evacuate
If the need to evacuate ever arises or is ordered by local officials, the following information may be helpful during such an event.

  • Listen to a battery powered radio for the location of emergency shelters. Follow the instructions of local officials.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Lock your house.
  • Use travel routes specified by local officials.

Car Kit
With the harsh winter climate in Iowa, it is likely that at some point while traveling in your vehicle you may become stranded. There are other times when you may experience other types of emergencies also.The following list can help you prepare for such and event.

  • Battery powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
  • Blanket or Sleeping Bags
  • Booster Cables
  • Fire Extinguisher (5 pound, ABC type)
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
  • Maps
  • Shovel
  • Tire repair kit and pump
  • Flares



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