This Citizen Corps News Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources and activities recently announced by federal agencies and Citizen Corps partners.

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Communication is Key

Effective emergency planning includes the needs of everyone, especially the elderly and those with access or functional needs. Many have specific needs that must be considered including hearing loss. If you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss, there are specific steps to take to ensure you can be quickly alerted when disaster strikes. Communication is key to your safety and those around you! Here are some ways to effectively communicate:

  • Carry a pre-printed accommodation and access card that has your contact information as well as those who can be notified on your behalf. The card should also include key phrases that will help others communicate with you such as “I cannot hear sirens or alarms” and “I use American Sign Language and need an interpreter.”
  • Get a NOAA weather radio with text or visual alerts . If you have a Twitter account you can also receive critical updates directly to your phone from FEMA and other emergency organizations with Twitter Alerts . Twitter Alerts are the fastest way to get essential information when you need it most.
  • Before an emergency happens, sign up for the Special Needs Registry with your local emergency management service particularly if you live alone and might require special communication assistance. Do not rely only on the registry! Even if you sign up, be prepared to evacuate or shelter-in-place.

In a Twitter chat hosted by FEMA Region 7 on September 24, experts discussed disaster preparedness tips for those with access or functional needs. Follow #ALLReadyChat on Twitter to see the conversation and learn how to keep your loved ones safe.


Watch What You Heat

Fire is one of the most common disasters in the United States. Each year thousands are killed or injured in house fires. Most house fires happen in the kitchen and are caused by carelessness. If you take precaution, fires can be prevented! When cooking, follow these tips to prevent a tragedy:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Do not leave food unattended;
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop;
  • Choose the right cookware and use it properly;
  • Wear short sleeves or clothes that are close-fitting; and
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the cooking area.

The U.S Fire Administration offers more information on cooking fire safety . Watch video clips, read about product safety and learn safe cooking behaviors, then download the FEMA activity guide, Ounce of Fire Prevention , to test your knowledge.


Weather the Storm

With hurricane season still in full swing, it is possible one of these powerful storms is in your area. If it is, can you weather the storm? It's one thing to be prepared but knowing how to respond during and after a hurricane requires a different set of actions. During a hurricane you should:

  • Stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors;
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level;
  • Turn refrigerator thermostat to the coldest setting and keep the door closed;
  • Evacuate if necessary per local authority instructions; and
  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.

Dangers from a hurricane do not end with the storm. Follow these tips after the disaster to ensure your safety and that of others:

  • Avoid downed power lines and roads covered by water or debris;
  • Use flashlights in the dark instead of candles;
  • Return home when instructed by authorities to do so;
  • Inspect your home and take pictures; and
  • Watch for wild animals especially poisonous snakes.

For more ways to stay safe during and after a hurricane, visit The American Red Cross .


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FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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