|Emergency Preparedness Guide|
Please read the following for instruction on how to react to the following emergency situations.
Before the blackout...
During the blackout...
Listen to a radio for the latest information.
Building an emergency kit
Disasters can occur quickly and without warning. Prepare for the unexpected now by assembling a kit designed to help you cope with a variety of emergencies.
Items for your kit:
A NOAA weather radio provides direct warnings to the public of severe weather and natural and manmade hazards from floods to forest fires to chemical spills. NOAA weather radios can be purchased at discount department stores, electronic retailers and Web sites.
Consider preparing a kit for your car, boat and RV or camper. In addition to the items listed above, a vehicle kit should also include these items:
Under certain conditions, chemicals which are normally safe can be poisonous or harmful to your health. A major chemical emergency is an accident that releases a hazardous amount of a chemical into the environment. Accidents can happen underground, on railways or highways, and at manufacturing plants. They may involve fire or explosion, or you may be unable to see or smell anything.
You may be exposed to a chemical in three ways
If you are outdoors during a large-scale hazardous material release, stay upwind or upstream of the release and find shelter immediately.
Many people think of chemicals as only those substances used in manufacturing processes. But chemicals are found everywhere in our kitchens, medicine cabinets, basements and garages. The most common home chemical emergencies involve small children eating medicines or drinking household chemicals.
Keep all medicines, cosmetics, cleaning products and other household chemicals out of sight and reach of children. If your child eats or drinks a non-food substance, find any containers immediately and take them to the phone. Call the poison control center at: 277-2222 or (1-800- 352-2222 in Iowa) or 911 and follow their instructions carefully.
Home product precautions
Dispose of products properly to preserve our environment and protect wildlife. If you have questions on disposal call the Siouxland Household Hazardous Materials Center at 279-6292.
Downed Power Lines
If you come across a downed power line, leave the area immediately and seek help by calling 911.
If you are in a vehicle when a power line falls onto it, wait inside the vehicle until help arrives. If you must leave the vehicle because of fire or life-threatening injury:
Local government officials issue evacuation orders when disaster threatens. Listen to local radio and TV reports when an emergency arises. If local officials ask you to leave, do so immediately!
If you only have moments to evacuate, grab the following:
If local officials haven’t advised an immediate evacuation, take these steps to protect your home before you leave:
Floods and flash floods
Most of Sioux City is not susceptible to flash floods, but there are some neighborhoods that may be at risk. Now is the time to determine your area's flood risk. If you are not sure whether you live in a floodplain, contact your local government to find out. If you are in a floodplain, consider buying flood insurance.
When a flood watch is issued, move your furniture and valuables to higher floors in your home. Prepare for possible evacuation.
When a flood warning is issued, listen to the radio or watch local TV stations for information and instructions.
When a flash flood warning is issued, move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.
Do not drive around barricades. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
Public Health Emergencies
Siouxland District Health has plans to distribute medications and give vaccinations to the general public during a public health emergency. Clinic sites and schedules will be announced publicly at the time of the emergency.
Dangers we face during periods of very high temperatures include:
Heat cramps: These are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. They are an early signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
Heat exhaustion: This typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim may suffer heat stroke.
Heat stroke (sunstroke): Heat stroke is life-threatening. The victims temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
If a heat wave is predicted or happening:
Lightning and thunderstorms
If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately, and listen to local radio and TV stations for information and instructions. Make sure your NOAA weather radio is turned on. Lightning can strike more than 6 miles ahead of a thunderstorm.
When a storm approaches, unplug appliances and turn off the air conditioner. Avoid using the telephone, computer or any electrical appliances, and do not take a bath or shower.
If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees. Stay away from tall, isolated objects. Lightning typically strikes the tallest object. That may be you in an open field or clearing. If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!
If you can’t find shelter, go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects. Squat low to the ground, and place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Do not lie flat on the ground!
After the storm passes, stay away from storm-damaged areas. Listen to the radio or watch local TV stations for information and instructions.
Basic first aid skills can be invaluable, so learn them now. See your local yellow pages for a list of providers who teach first aid classes or contact the American Red Cross.
Natural gas emergencies
You can help prevent natural gas emergencies by calling the locator service (Iowa: 1-800-292-8989) before you dig on your property. This will help you avoid hitting gas lines.
If you smell gas outdoors, move away from the area until you no longer smell the gas and call 911. Do not return to the area until authorities tell you it is safe to do so.
If you smell gas indoors, get outside immediately, leaving doors open to help ventilate the building. Do not use light switches, electrical appliances or phones (cell or land line) in the affected home or building. Extinguish cigarettes and do not light matches.
Get to a safe distance from the home and call 911. Do not return to the area until appropriate authorities tell you it is safe to do so.
Pets and disaster
If you evacuate, the best way to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe place for them, is likely to result in them being injured, lost or worse.
Have a safe place to take your pets
Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of state regulations and otherconsiderations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters.
Birds should be transported in a secure travel carrier. Provide a few slices of fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content. Have a photo for identification and leg bands. Bring plenty of paper towels to collect waste in the bottom of the birds cage.
Snakes can be transported in a pillowcase but they must be transferred to more secure housing when they reach the evacuation site. Take a water bowl large enough for soaking as well as a heating pad.
When transporting house lizards, follow the same directions given above for birds.
Small mammals (hamsters, gerbils, etc.) should be transported in secure carriers. Take bedding materials, food bowls and water bottles.
Sheltering in place
One of the instructions you may be given when hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. (This is not the same thing as going to a public shelter at a school or other location.) Shelter-in-place means selecting a small interior room with no or few windows and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building.
You might need to shelter-in-place if chemical, biological or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. If this happens, local authorities will provide information on TV and radio stations to help you protect yourself and your family. Keep a radio or TV on at work and at home so you can be alerted to hazardous conditions quickly.
Know how to shelter-in-place
Know why the sirens sound
Outdoor warning sirens alert us to chemical spills, severe weather and other outdoor emergencies. When sirens sound, go indoors and turn on a local TV or radio station to find out what the threat is and how to protect yourself.
Do not assume there is no emergency because skies are clear.
Testing of sirens occurs on the first Monday of the month at 12:00 noon
Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. Basements are best; if you don’t have one, choose a center hallway, bathroom or closet on the lowest floor. Be sure to take your weather radio into your temporary shelter.
If you are outside, hurry to the basement or a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.
After the tornado, watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area. Listen to the radio or watch local TV stations for information and instructions.
Warnings and watches
A storm watch means a storm is possible in your area. When a watch is issued, listen to local radio and TV stations for additional information. Be alert to changing weather conditions and avoid unnecessary travel.
A storm warning means a storm is headed for or is already in your area. When a storm warning is issued:
Winter storms: have a plan
Before a storm comes, have extra blankets on hand and ensure that each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, a warm hat and warm, water-resistant boots.
During a storm, avoid going outside. If you must, wear several layers of lightweight clothing this will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from cold air and debris.
You should avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must:
If you become stranded in a vehicle...
If you shovel snow after the storm, be careful not to overexert yourself. Strenuous activity in cold weather can put a strain on your heart.
If you need assistance in an emergency, dial 911.
The resources below are provided to assist you in your emergency planning:
Sioux City Fire Department (non emergency): 712-279-6314
Sioux City Police Department (non emergency): 712-279-6960
Woodbury County Disaster and Emergency Services: 712-876-2212
Siouxland Chapter, American Red Cross: 712-252-4081
My Nurse Health Info: 877-242-8899
Poison Center: Local Number: 277-2222 or 1-800-352-2222. The national 800 number is 1-800-222-1222
Information and Referral: 211
Siouxland District Health: 712-279-6119
Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov/dhspublic