Des Moines, IOWA --- The Fire Marshal's Building Code Bureau staff is committed to ensuring Iowans are prepared for all emergencies, whether natural or manmade. There are many things individuals can do to ensure they're prepared. Below, the Building Code Bureau offers a list of zero to low cost, and long term improvements homeowners can make to protect themselves, their families, and their homes.
- Develop an Evacuation Plan which includes maps of local evacuation routes and emergency shelter locations. Establish a “safety destination” (like a friend’s or relative’s house some distance away) and plan several different routes to get there so you can drive around roadblocks or hazards.
- Establish an emergency contact. Be sure that each member of your family knows the name and phone number for this person in case you are separated. By having everyone call one central person, it will be easier for you to check on each other and reunite after a disaster. Teach every family member when and how to dial "911" for emergency assistance.
- Put together an Emergency Supply Kit which includes food and water supplies needed for each member of your family, important documents and files, cash or traveler’s checks, non-prescription medications (aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever) and prescriptions you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine, and asthma inhalers.
- Purchase a NOAA weather radio with battery back-up for your home.
- Reduce the threat of wind-borne projectiles. This is a major factor in home damage and destruction during hurricanes, tornadoes and other windstorm events. Bring items like patio furniture, potted plants, or toys inside so they can't become airborne during a storm.
- Consider installing a safe room in your house. Safe rooms can be located anywhere on the first floor of your home, in a basement or outside. Site-built safe rooms should be constructed in accordance with the prescriptive designs of the FEMA 320 Publication, Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House.
May is National Building Safety Month. To view Governor Terry E. Branstad’s proclamation, click here.