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Tips for staying safe during emergencies

Jamie Forzato, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Following a week of terrifying news, emergency management agencies are urging citizens to be prepared before tragedy strikes.

Here are some tips for you and your family:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings at home, at work and on public transportation.
  • Know how to get in touch with loved ones and police in emergencies. During a disaster, there could be massive phone service outages, so limit phone calls and text family members. Texting uses less bandwidth than phone calls so it’s easier to get through. Text-to-911 services will expand this year, according to the FCC. Frederick County, Maryland already offers this service to Verizon customers.
  • Keep a portable cell phone battery charger on hand to juice up if you’re away from a power source.
  • The Department of Homeland Security says don’t open mail that looks suspicious, including packages with misspelled words, a strong odor and excessive postage. See the agency’s guide to suspicious mail online.
  • Develop a family disaster plan. FEMA’s website offers a blueprint online.
  • Sign-up for email alerts with your local government and keep a battery powered radio on hand.
  • As always, if you see something, say something.

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