Before a Disaster
Know the Hazards & Their Risks
The Teton County Emergency Management web site features a section on the different hazards that can affect Teton County here. Also featured are hazard maps, so you can find your home and place of work and see which hazards are most likely to affect you.
Look at each of these potential disasters and evaluate which have the highest probability of affecting you and your family: those are the disasters that you want to concentrate your planning on to begin with. Always keep in mind, however, that almost all of these situations could potentially affect Teton County. For this reason, it is best to have a general preparedness plan that can be effective in any situation.
Put Together a Plan
Now that you are aware of the different hazards and the risks they pose, it is time to put together a plan. One very simple way to formalize a plan is to fill out this template (PDF) by the Department of Homeland Security and Ready.gov. Keeping copies at home, work, and school are a good idea since you don't know where you will be when a disaster strikes.
The two most important things to keep in mind are to have a predetermined meeting place and an out-of-area emergency contact. The reason to have both of these prepared ahead of time is the likelihood of phone service either being inoperable following a disaster or local lines operating at full capacity due to the calls for emergency service.
Put Together a 72 Hour Kit
A 72 hour kit contains the essential items that you and your family will need to survive for the first 72 hours following a disaster. It could take 72 hours or longer for emergency services to reach you and your family following a disaster, so being self-sufficient is very important. You can put together your own 72 hour kit, and you probably have many of the necessary items on hand already. The other option is to purchase a pre-made kit. They are available through the American Red Cross Store or through many other online retailers.
Not only do you need to stay informed about potential hazards and disasters, but you need to know how to react to them before they occur. An important source of information is NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. Teton County Emergency Management recommends that every home and business has one of these vital pieces of emergency preparedness equipment. NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio is one of the main methods Teton County will use to notify its citizens and visitors of impending hazards, or to relay instructions following a disaster.
Lastly, you can take classes, both online and locally, that can help you to prepare for a disaster. The American Red Cross of Wyoming offers CPR and First Aid classes. Both of these skills are useful not only during a disaster, but any time. Another option is to take classes through FEMA's Independent Study Program.