Preparedness Tips

Being prepared for an emergency is as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Have a Disaster Supply Kit

Putting together a disaster supply kit requires very little time or money but can be invaluable to you in the days following a disaster. Your kit should be in a sturdy, waterproof container and include the things your family will need (don’t forget the pets) for the first three days after a disaster. You don’t have to create your kit in one day; take time each week to place a few of the items you need in your kit. Some suggested items for your kit include:

  • Water, 1 gallon per person per day
  • Non perishable food and a manual can opener
  • Paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, and paper towels
  • Battery powered radio and/or NOAA weather radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, etc.
  • A complete change of clothing for each family member including a pair of sturdy shoes
  • Prescription medications and extra glasses/contacts
  • Specialty items for infants, the elderly or anyone in your home with special needs
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Tools, including a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Money, both cash and change
  • Copies of important family documents, insurance policies, etc.
  • Comfort items such as books, puzzles, and toys

2. Create an Emergency Plan

Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance what you will do if a disaster happens and you are separated. You should discuss how you will contact one another, how you will get back together, and what you will do in different situations. Discussing what you will do ahead of time will help reduce fear and anxiety if a disaster happens. Here are some tips in mind when creating emergency plan:

Create a list of addresses and phones numbers for the places where your family spends the most time along with family members’ cell phone numbers and work numbers. Each family member should have a copy of the list and a copy should be placed in your disaster supply kit.

Identify meeting places in your neighborhood (in case of a house fire) and meeting places outside your neighborhood in case you have to evacuate.

Select an out-of-town relative or friend to be the “family contact person”. After a disaster, it is often easier to make a long distance call than a local call. If separated, family members should call the “contact person” and tell him or her where they are. Everyone must know the contact’s name, address, and phone number.

Know what to do if authorities instruct you to shelter in place or evacuate.

Practice and maintain your plan by reviewing and updating it every six months or with any major changes in your family.

3. Be Informed

It is important to know what hazards in your community you should prepare for. These hazards can be either natural, such as severe weather, or man-made, such as a hazardous materials incident. Take time to discuss these hazards with your family, including how can prepare for them and how you will respond if faced with one.

Being informed also includes know the ways authorities may broadcast important information during an emergency. One way to authorities may use are television or radio EAS stations.

EAS Stations for Calhoun County

AM Radio

FM Radio



WJCK 88.3

WBRC Fox TV Channel 6


WVOK 97.9

WVTM NBC TV Channel 13



WJXS TV Channel 24



WJSU ABC TV Channel 33/40

NOAA Weather Radio

A NOAA Weather Radio is an important item to have in your disaster supply kit because it not only lets your receive severe weather watches and warnings but it can also be a way authorities broadcast important information during an emergency. To ensure that you are receiving information for Calhoun County, make sure your radio is set to Channel 4 and S.A.M.E county code 001015.

For weather radio programming instructions, please visit this page hosted by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Birmingham:

An important part of being informed also means knowing your siren tones. In Calhoun County, we have specific tones for severe weather, a hazardous material or radiological accident, and siren tests. The severe weather tone is a long, high pitched tone. The tone for a hazardous material or radiological accident is a high-low tone. The sound for the siren test, conducted the first Tuesday of each month at 4:00 PM, is a wail tone.