Idaho Transportation

Office of Communications
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707
Fax: 208.334.8563


During disaster, take care of family first,
then focus on work-related responsibilities

Rapidly rising floodwater is lapping at your doorstep. Gusting winds toppled a tree and cut electricity to your house. The road to town has become impassable, leaving you stranded. A new strain of influenza leaves you quarantined at home. A tanker truck or rail car leaks toxic gasses…

Disaster happens.

ITD recently introduced a comprehensive plan that helps employees prepare for the interruption of service and disruption that can result from natural and man-caused disasters. Preparation is fundamental to the department’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).

If disaster strikes and employees are unable to reach their workstation, or disaster renders the workstation unusable for a period of time, how will ITD ensure it continues providing basic services? How will it operate during the loss of communication? How will it ensure critical data is not permanently lost? How will it notify employees when to report for work – and where?

The new COOP was developed so those answers already are on the table before a disaster strikes. Training that will be scheduled in the near future will ensure that employees know how and when to put the COOP into action.

Even before implementing those contingencies, though, employees can be prepared to cope with disaster on a personal and family level, explains Cheryl Rost, manager of Risk Management and Employee Safety. She and other members of the COOP planning team encourage employees to plan ahead to protect their families. With the assurance that loved ones are provided for, employees then can be free to respond to work demands.

"Disaster can strike any time, anywhere. By taking a few simple steps now, you can ensure that your family and your community are prepared before the next emergency arises," said FEMA's Acting Regional Administrator Doug Gore. "We urge everyone to take steps necessary to keep their family safe, which includes getting a kit, making a plan, being informed and getting involved."

Here are a few suggestions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that can help individuals prepare for disasters:

Be informed
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency.

However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Learn more about the potential emergencies that could happen where you live and the appropriate way to respond to them. In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local governments.

Emergency preparedness is no longer the sole concern of earthquake-prone Californians and those who live in the part of the country known as "Tornado Alley." For Americans, preparedness now must account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

Make a plan”
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together and what you will do in different situations.

Family Emergency Plan

  • Identify an out-of town contact.  It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
  • Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
  • Teach family members how to use text messaging (also knows as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
  • Subscribe to alert services. Many communities now have systems that will send instant text alerts or e-mails to let you know about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc.

Make a kit:

Recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional items to consider adding to an emergency supply kit:
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

For more information and suggestions on how to become prepared for natural and human-caused disasters, visit the FEMA website

Published 6-11-2010