Hazards to Prepare for in Elmore County

Earthquakes The Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks Idaho fifth highest in the nation for earthquake risk.  In the last 50 years Idaho has experienced two of the largest earthquakes in the continental US.  Idaho doesn’t have the large population and infrastructure of some states at risk, such as California.  However, we do have many citizens who are unaware of the earthquake risk as well as numerous buildings that are unsafe.  We can’t predict earthquakes, but by preparing for the consequences we can save lives, reduce injury and property loss.

Floods and Flash Floods On average the South Fork of the Boise River reaches 6140 cubic feet per second (cfs), or flood stage once every 5 years and 7210 cubic feet per second (CFS) one every 10 years. Minor flooding may occur in the area between the Featherville Bridge and Pine Bridge in other years. Due to the many burn scars in Elmore County flash flooding can occur with snow melt Heavy rainfall can also cause flash flooding in the rural areas and flooding in Communities in the county.  See NOAA Flood Safety for more information

Thunderstorms and Lightning Thunderstorms, rain, hail, lightening and high winds are events which affect Elmore County.  These storms may also cause secondary problems such as loss of utilities, automobile accidents due to road conditions, and flash floods.

Hazardous Materials Accidents Each day hazardous materials are transported through Elmore County either by train or freeway transportation.  There are approximately 25 facilities in the County which contain hazardous materials.  Hazardous materials, including agricultural chemicals, commonly stored and used in Elmore County.

Wildfires In approximately the last 10 years, Elmore County has had six major wildland fires, These fires have destroyed thousands of acres of forest and rangelands.  One of these fires came very close to the city of Mountain Home.  Homeowners are encouraged to have defensible space around their homes to deter fire.

Children and Disasters Children depend on daily routines.  When emergencies interrupt the routine, they may become anxious and look to adults for help.  How an adult reacts to an emergency can give children the stability needed to cope during the event. Controlling the situation and your response may have a lasting impact.

YOUR FAMILY DISASTER PLAN (4 Steps to Safety)

Find Out What Could Happen to You

  • Find out what type of disasters could occur in your community as well as your neighborhood and how you should respond. (See Hazards to Prepare for in Elmore

County on the first page).

  • Contact the Elmore County Animal facility or a private animal facility to arrange for the care of your animals before the disaster occurs.
  • Find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children’s school or daycare and other places where your family spends time.

Create a Disaster Plan

  • Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Discuss the types of hazards you’re at risk from and how to respond.
  • Pick 2 places to meet:
  1. Right outside your home in case of a fire.
  2. Outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
  • Ask an out-of-state person to be your “family contact”. After a disaster it’s often

easier to call long distance.  Family member should call this person and tell them their location.  Everyone must know your contact’s information.

  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation.  Plan what to do with pets.

Put Your Plan into Action

  • Post emergency telephone numbers in a prominent place in your home.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911.
  • Locate shut off valves for utilities and show each family member how and when to turn off the water gas and electricity at the main switches.  Remember-once the gas is turned off, it can only be turned back on by a professional.
  • Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
  • Teach family members, of the appropriate age, how to use a fire extinguisher and show them where it is kept.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Take a first aid and CPR class.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  • Find the safest location in your home for each type of disaster.

            Practice and Maintain Your Plan

  • Quiz your kids every 6 months so they remember what to do.
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills periodically
  • Replace stored water and rotate stored food every 6 months.
  • Test and recharge you fire extinguisher(s)
  • Test your smoke detector monthly and change the batteries annually.

HOME HAZARD HUNT

In a disaster ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damages.  Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard.  For example, a hot water heater or a bookshelf can fall.  Inspect your home at least once a year and fix potential hazards.

  • Have defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections repaired.
  • 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 and off the ground.
  • Place oily rags and hazardous waste in covered metal cans.
  • Clear and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.

EVACUATION

EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY IF TOLD TO DO SO.  Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.  Listen to the radio for emergency instructions.  Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.  Make sure to lock you home and use travel routes specified by the authorities.  Don’t use shortcuts or break barricades.

If instructed to do so, and you have time, shut off water, gas and electricity.  Let others know when you left and where you’re going.  Make arrangements for pets. Animals may not be allowed in public shelters.

Children are most afraid that:

  • The event will happen again.
  • Someone will be injured or killed.
  • They will be separated from their family.
  • They will be left alone.

Having Children participate in family preparedness activities will build their confidence and help them feel their life will return to “normal”.

Teach children how to recognize danger signals.  Teach them what smoke detectors and fire alarms sound like.  Explain how and when to call for help.  Post emergency phone numbers and teach children how and when to call 911.  Help your children to memorize important family information.  They should know their family name, address, phone number and where to meet in case of an emergency. If they are too young, they should carry a small card to give to an adult that lists emergency information.

PLANNING FOR UTILITY FAILURE
ELECTRICITY

Following a disaster, check for damaged wiring in your home.  Look for sparks or the smell of hot or burning insulation.  If damaged shut off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box.  Outside, consider all downed power lines as live.  Do not touch downed lines or attempt to move any object in contact with them.  Report any broken or damaged lines or poles.

NATURAL GAS

If an emergency occurs and you not smell or hear escaping gas, you probably do not need to shut off your gas, which would deprive you of the service unnecessarily.  If you do smell gas turn off the meter as follows:

  • Locate the meter shut-off valve on the gas supply pipe.
  • Use the wrench to turn the valve ¼ turn so that the lever is cross-wise to the pipe.
  • Once the gas is off, leave it off until a technician deems it safe to turn back on.

 WATER

After a disaster water supplies may be cut off or contaminated. See disaster supply kit for ways to store water before a disaster ensuring a water supply when a disaster occurs.

YOUR DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT

SUPPLIES

There are six basics you should stock in your home:  water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies and special items.  Keep these items in an easy to carry container.  Possible containers include:   covered trash, container, backpack or suitcase.

See Fema.gov Emergency supply list

SUGGESTIONS

  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version in the truck of your car.
  • Keep item in air tight plastic bags
  • Change your stored water supply every 6 months
  • Rotate food supply every 6 months
  • Rethink your kit and family needs once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes etc.
  • Ask you physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
  • Below is a checklist of suggest items to include.

WATER

Store water in containers which are UV-resistant, food grade plastic containers or in metallized bags. The safest containers are polyethylene-based plastics. Normally an active person needs to drink at least 2 quarts of water a day.  Water can be frozen in plastic containers.

  • Children, nursing mother and elderly may need more
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day (2quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for food preparation and sanitation)
  • Keep at least a 3-day supply of water for each person in your home.

FOOD

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned Juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress food
  • Food for animals

TOOLS AND SUPPLIES

  • Hand-cranked radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Signal Flare
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Whistle
  • Map of area
  • Pliers and tape
  • Paper products (paper plates etc.)

SANITATION ITEMS

  • Toilet paper
  • Soap and personal hygiene items
  • Feminine supplies
  • Plastic bags and bucket with lid
  • Disinfectant/household chlorine bleach

CLOTHING AND BEDDING

  • Include at least one change of clothing and footwear per person
  • Include blankets and sleeping bags

SPECIAL ITEMS

For Baby

  • Formula and bottles
  • Diapers
  • Medications

For Adults

  • Medications
  • Important documents (keep in water proof bag)