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Emergency Preparedness Tips

Emergency situations happen every single day all across the nation. Whether it’s a flood, hurricane, tornado, fire or other disaster, it’s essential to be prepared for any situation that may arise. Being prepared can give you and your family the confidence you need to safely and effectively handle anything that comes your way.

While here in Park Forest, Illinois, there isn't much excitement as far as tornados, hurricanes and floods, we do have the occasional thunderstorm that can wipe out the power for a few hours. Even so, it's NEVER a bad idea to over prepare, but ALWAYS a bad idea to under-prepare!

tornado on flat land outside of Park Forest, Illinois housing cooperative

Leadership & Communication

  • Clearly communicate needs to every member in your home and neighbors if need be. Take a leadership role. You are working to ensure the safety of everyone involved while minimizing damage to your unit and the units around you.

  • Have a designated meeting spot should there be an evacuation. Create this plan with your family ahead of time so you're prepared when the day comes.

  • Assign clear, concise roles. Someone will need to secure any outdoor furniture in the event of a severe storm, someone needs to shut off the main water supply, someone needs to be responsible for crating the family pet and so on.

people packing canned goods in box to prepare for bad weather

Prepare & Stock Up

  • Have emergency supplies on hand ready to go. These supplies should include a fire extinguisher, fully stocked first aid kit, backup batteries, emergency radio or hand-crank portable radio, bottled water, extra food, flashlights, whistle or flares, change of clothes, medications, and even a manual can opener for food. Some of these supplies may seem excessive now, but they won't if you're ever in the thick of it!

  • Keep all important paperwork in waterproof containers or bags. Think social security cards, birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses, etc. Keep this plastic bag sealed inside of a fireproof, portable safe. Whether there's a disaster or not, this is an excellent way to keep important papers safe and preserved!

two women discussing the emergency plans at Ash Street Cooperative

Practice & Have a Plan B

Not all emergencies will give you ample warning but you can make an effort to prepare for the most likely ones based on where you are located and past history. Practice your plan with your family and have an alternate plan in case the first doesn't pan out. Practicing your emergency plan when there isn't an emergency will help everyone keep a cool head if and when there is one!

  • Know the quickest exit in case of a fire. Know a second exit strategy in case the fire blocks your first.

  • Have a designated safe spot for tornadoes inside your co-op basement.

  • Keep gutters cleared and free of debris in case of a flood. Move valuable furniture to the highest spot possible and unplug electronics before water reaches them!

  • If hail hits, stay indoors and away from the windows. If windows begin to break, cover your body with a heavy blanket and wait it out.

Housing cooperatives can pose a unique challenge to being fully prepared as there are many shared buildings with lots of families in them. With whole neighborhoods of people involved, when a disaster comes calling, it’s all hands on deck!

Talk to your family. Talk to your neighbors. Come up with a plan that works for you that will ensure a more efficient response during your time of need. Then, pray you never need to utilize it!

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