Plan for Your Risks
Disaster preparedness is an important priority for the Doña Ana County/City of Las Cruces Office of Emergency Management (OEM). We aim to inform and empower people to prepare for and respond to emergencies. It’s critical for individuals, families, neighborhoods, and businesses to make emergency plans, practice those plans, and to communicate the plan before, during and after emergencies. There are actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard. Identify the hazards that have happened or could happen in your area and plan for the unique actions for each. The Doña Ana County/City of Las Cruces Office of Emergency Management can help identify the hazards in your area and outline the local plans and recommendations for each. Be sure to share hazard-specific information with family members and include pertinent materials in your family disaster plan. It’s never to early to prepare! Check out steps you can take to Prepare Now.
Be Informed About Disaster Risks.
There are a variety of natural hazards (weather/geological threats) and manmade/technological hazards for which we should prepare. Get familiar with the hazards facing Doña Ana County; even lifelong residents may not be fully aware of the potential hazards we face. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has collected information about many of the potential emergencies we face today. Visit their website to get detailed information about the potential emergencies for which you should prepare: Prepare for Emergencies. The Doña Ana County Local Emergency Planning Committee has information pertaining to natural hazards specific to the county available on their website: Local Hazards. The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (NMDHSEM) has also prepared an New Mexico Family Preparedness Guide. The Guide is available in its entirety as a single PDF file or you can view it in pieces at NMDHSEM’s website: NM Family Preparedness Guide.
Ensure that each member of your family knows where to go to get important life safety and official and up-to-date disaster information. Take advantage of social media, and like or follow official news media outlets, local and state emergency management agencies, and the National Weather Service. Subscribe to weather alerts on your smart phone and maintain up to date contact phone numbers for your family and others you may need to connect with. Residents should make sure they are registered to receive Reverse 911 community notifications from Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA). To register your cell number, e-mail address, or to opt-in to receive text messages, visit the Reverse 911 Self-Registration Portal. Another way to receive community safety alert information is by way of the Nixle Connect Notification System. To register, visit: http://www.nixle.com and enter your zip code to begin the sign-up process.
Be sure to monitor different types of media to get information about current and upcoming conditions. Newspapers, websites, radio, TV, mobile and land phones, and amateur radio are all good sources of information about emerging disaster threats and potential emergency situations. The National Weather Service (NWS) has detailed information for the Doña Ana County area at the NWS forecast website. The FEMA Mobile App (available for Apple, Android, and Blackberry mobile devices) offers valuable information about weather alerts and how to prepare for disasters.
Make an Emergency Plan
Plan for your specific needs. Factors to keep in mind include: the ages of family members, responsibilities for assisting others, dietary needs, medical needs, access and functional needs, language barriers, pets or service animals, and cultural and religious considerations. Information on how to make a plan for yourself, or your family can be located at the following website: www.ready.gov.
Information about developing a family disaster plan has been developed by:
- How to Make a Plan (prepared by the American Red Cross)
- Preparing Makes Sense: Get Ready Now (en Español)
- Family Emergency Communication Plan Planning (prepared by FEMA)
More information and examples of special considerations for emergency planning can be found at: https://www.ready.gov/considerations.
- Special Considerations for Seniors
- Special Considerations for Pet Owners
- Disaster Preparedness for the Visually Impaired
- Disaster Preparedness for the Hearing Impaired
- Fire Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities
- Disaster Preparedness for Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
Not sharing is not an emergency plan. Make sure others know what to do in the event of an emergency, where to find one another, and how you will stay in touch.
Sheltering in Place vs. Evacuations
Understand the difference between Sheltering in Place and Evacuations. Talk with your family and friends about what you will do and if you’re not together during an emergency. Discuss how you’ll contact each other, where you’ll meet, and what you’ll do in different situations.
Communicate Your Plan
Winging it is not an emergency plan. Make sure you and your loved ones know what to do in an emergency. Once you’ve created your plan – talk about it.
Be sure everyone knows who to call, where to meet, what to pack, and how to reach one another in the event of an emergency.
Emergency Planning for Businesses
Business can access information about making a site-specific emergency plan by visiting the following website: FEMA Workplace Plans. Additional technical assistance can be found at FEMA’s business page: https://www.ready.gov/business. Your business can also contact the Doña Ana County/City of Las Cruces OEM or the Doña Ana County Local Emergency Planning Committee for additional information.
Build an Emergency Kit
A disaster can happen anywhere you live and work. The first 72 hours after a disaster are critical. Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis. Each person should be prepared to be self-sufficient – able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones – for at least three days following a disaster. But you should make it a goal to build an emergency kit with two weeks supply of food, water and other necessary supplies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a recommended list of emergency kit items: FEMA Emergency Supplies Kit Checklist. Special considerations should be made to tailor your Emergency Kit to you/your family’s needs. Emergency Supply lists are also available for the following special populations:
- Senior Citizens
- Individuals with Functional and Access Needs
- Individuals with Infants and Young Children
- Pet Owners
Dangerous weather and other emergency situations can and will happen while you’re away from home and/or traveling. Plan ahead and prepare your car and have items you may need at work or where you may travel frequently (a loved one’s home that you visit often, for example). Check out important Car Safety considerations and ideas for making an Emergency Kit for your vehicle.
Maintaining Your Emergency Supply Kit
Just as important as putting your supplies together is maintaining them so they are safe to use when needed.
Here are some tips to keep your supplies ready and in good condition:
- Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
- Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
- Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented or corroded.
- Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies.
- Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
- Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
- Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.
- Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack or duffel bag.