Why talk about a Family Disaster Plan?

Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services, such as water, gas, electricity, or telephones were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.
Families can and do cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.

Awareness Information

A National Weather Service (NWS) WATCH is a message indicating that conditions favor the occurrence of a certain type of hazardous weather. For example, a severe thunderstorm watch means that a severe thunderstorm is expected in the next six hours or so within an area approximately 120 to 150 miles wide and 300 to 400 miles long (36,000 to 60,000 square miles). The NWS Storm Prediction Center issues such watches. Local NWS forecast offices issue other watches (flash flood, winter weather, etc.) 12 to 36 hours in advance of a possible hazardous-weather or flooding event. Each local forecast office usually covers a state or a portion of a state.
An NWS WARNING indicates that a hazardous event is occurring or is imminent in about 30 minutes to an hour. Local NWS forecast offices issue warnings on a county-by-county basis.

For more information on what steps to take and how to create your family plan & build an emergency kit go to:

REGISTER NOW! Sault Tribe is hosting a speaking event on 17 July 2014 from 10am – 3pm @ Kewadin Casinos Hotel & Convention Center. This event is free of charge with the purpose of promoting school safety and security throughout our 7 county service area. All school administrators, teachers, first responders, health officials, volunteers, and government representatives are welcome and invited to attend! Lunch will be provided.  Contact mcarpentier@saulttribe.net to register!  Image


We all have tents, but it’s a good idea to keep a copy of this graphic with every tarp you take on a weekend camping trip or keep in your car.  A tarp can be used for storage, sheltering, or even just keeping firewood dry.  If you are camping or traveling and you get separated from a group, stranded or otherwise dislocated – you don’t have to improvise a shelter without a guide.  Thought processes are scattered in emergency situations so having instructions to follow would be helpful even if you think you know what you’re doing. 


Registration is open for Rural and Ready 2014.  

Scheduled for May 20-22, this event focuses on public health preparedness and coordination through community involvement, partnerships and mutual aid.  If you are interested in registering either as a participant or vendor, please visit the link below.  Questions concerning the event can be directed to the Chippewa County Health Department Emergency Preparedness Office @ 906-635-3627.



Spring and summer are wonderful times of the year for residents to spend time outdoors and enjoy the warm weather.  they are also times when people should be alert and pay attention to rapidly changing weather conditions.  Severe thunderstorms with lightning, heavy rain, hail, high winds and even tornadoes are possible during this time of year.  

All thunderstorms produce lightning and all have potential danger.  Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes.  They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears.  In the United States alone, lightning kills 300 people and injures 80 on average, each year.  

Before Spring and Summer Severe Weather Threatens:

  • Know the terms used by weather forecasters:

Severe Thunderstorm – A thunderstorm that produces a tornado, winds of at least 58 mph (50 knots), and/or hail at least ¾” in diameter. Structural wind damage may imply the occurrence of a severe thunderstorm. A thunderstorm wind equal to or greater than 40 mph (35 knots) and/or hail of at least ½” is defined as approaching severe. 

Flash Flood – A flood which is caused by heavy or excessive rainfall in a short period of time, generally less than 6 hours. Also, at times a dam failure can cause a flash flood, depending on the type of dam and time period during which the break occurs.

Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms. Listen to the media for updates.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Tells you there is a possibility of severe thunderstorms in your area likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to know when warnings are issued.

Flash Flood Watch – Flash flooding is possible in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent. Listen to the National Weather Service, radio or television for information.

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning – A severe thunderstorm is occurring or will likely occur soon in your area. Warnings are for imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm. Seek shelter immediately.

Flash Flood Warning – Flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely. Seek higher ground immediately or evacuate if directed to do so.

  • Continually monitor the media – Be aware of storm’s which could impact your area. 
  • Know how you will be warned in an emergency (NOAA Weather radios with a tone alert are a good option). 
  • Know if you live or work in a flood prone area. Check with your local emergency management for details. 
  • Know where to shelter (ie: basement, interior room/hall, bathroom, closet, etc) if conditions warrant and where shelters in your area are located.
  • Ensure your home is ready – Elevate items in the basement which could be flooded. Bring in outdoors items such as children’s toys, patio furniture, garbage cans, etc which could be blown around and damaged. Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage.
  • Know how to shut off power, water and gas to your home. Have proper tools (ie: wrench) ready and nearby.
  • Develop a Family Emergency Communication Plan in case family members are separated from one another during severe weather (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), and have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the ‘family contact’. After a disaster, it is often easier to call out long distance. Make sure everyone knows the name, address and telephone number of the contact person.
  • Plan a place where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
  • Notify caregivers and babysitters about your emergency plans and shelter locations.
  • Find out what types of events and kinds of damages are covered by your insurance policy. Keep insurance policies, important documents and other valuables in a safe and secure location.
  • Everyone should have an Emergency Supply Kit which would prepare them to survive on their own for at least three days. There should be: non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights and extra batteries, a portable radio in case of power outages or other emergencies caused by severe weather. Additional items that should be included are a freshly-stocked first-aid kit, essential prescription medicines, a non-electric can opener, baby-care items, extra blankets, sleeping bags and a fire extinguisher.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone knows how to use them.

During Severe Weather:

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
  • Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Tornado danger signs included dark, almost greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-lying cloud or a load roar, similar to a freight train.
  • Heed shelter or evacuation requests made by officials or announcements on radio/television.
  • Gather family members, bring pets indoors and have your emergency supply kit ready.
  • During a tornado warning, if outside head indoors to a safe location. Basements, lower floors or interior hallways, bathrooms, closets, rooms are best for shelter.
  • If outdoors with nowhere to go, lye flat in a ditch or low lying area. Cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential of flooding. Watch out for flying debris. Never try to outrun a tornado.
  • Close outside doors and window blinds, shades or curtains. Stay away from doors, windows and exterior walls. Stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.
  • During lightning, do not use wired telephones, touch electrical appliances or use running water. Cordless or cellular telephones are safe to use.
  • If outdoors, head for shelter indoors or inside a vehicle. If boating or swimming, get out of the water immediately and get indoors. Go to a low lying place away from trees, poles or metal objects. Squat low to the ground. Make sure the place you pick does not flood.
  • Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Stay indoors and limit travel to only absolutely necessary trips. Listen to radio/television for updates.

Auto Safety Steps:

  • Plan long trips carefully, listening to the radio or television for the latest weather forecasts and road conditions. If bad weather is forecast, drive only if absolutely necessary.
  • Keep your gas tank full in case evacuation is needed. Keep your vehicle maintained and in good working order.
  • Assemble an Emergency Car Kit including: flashlight with extra batteries, basic first-aid kit, necessary medications, pocket knife, booster cables, blanket/sleeping bag, extra clothes (including rain gear, gloves and socks), non-perishable foods, non-electric can opener, basic tool kit (pliers, wrench, screwdriver), tow rope, container of water and a brightly colored cloth to serve as a flag.
  • If in a car during a tornado, get out immediately and lay flat in a ditch or low lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. Never try to outrun a tornado.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. Six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control and possibly stall. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Cars, SUVs and pickup trucks can be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water. Do not drive around road barriers – they are there for a reason.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.

After Severe Weather:

  • Stay off roads to allow emergency crews to clear roads and provide emergency assistance.
  • Help injured or trapped persons. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergencies.
  • Use care around downed power lines. Assume a downed wire is a live wire. Report to emergency authorities.
  • Watch out for overhead hazards such as broken tree limbs, wires and other debris. Be cautious walking around.
  • Be aware of children playing outdoors and in the streets, particularly climbing on or running around downed trees and wires. Parents should remind their children to stay away from these hazards.
  • Avoid walking into flood waters. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewerage, contain downed power lines or animals.
  • Look for hazards such as broken/leaking gas lines, damaged sewage systems, flooded electrical circuits, submerged appliances and structural damage. Leave the area if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
  • Clean everything that gets wet. For food, medicines and cosmetics; when in doubt, through it out.
  • Make sure backup generators are well ventilated. Never use grills, generators or camping stoves indoors.
  • Listen to media reports and/or local authorities about whether your community water supply is safe to drink and other instructions.
  • Make sure gutters and drains are clear for future rain/flood events.
  • Check on neighbors, particularly elderly or those who may require special assistance.
  • Take photographs/videos of damage as soon as possible. Contact your insurance company to file a claim.

Additional Spring and Summer Severe Weather Preparedness Information:


Federal Emergency Management Agency:  www.fema.gov/hazard/types.shtm
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security:  www.ready.gov/america/beinformed/index.html
National Weather Service Winter Weather:  www.noaawatch.gov/themes/severe.php

Due to the issues taking place with the Sugar Island Ferry, Kewadin Casino Hotel in the Sault is offering Kewadin Casino & Sault Tribe employees who live on the island and cannot get home a special hotel rate of $45 per night (plus tax – no free play). 

Employees will be able to payroll deduct the cost of the room.  Employees will need to present their badge upon check in to qualify for payroll deduction.

To assist with meals, employees will be able to charge or pay for food items at the Trail Deli from the employee menu.  Employees will need to present their badge to order to do this. 

This offer will be extended for any days the Sugar Island Ferry does not run.

To book a room, please call the hotel directly at 906-632-0530.

Sault Tribe Emergency Management would like to help you with some useful ideas for that hard to buy for person in your life. The holidays are quickly approaching and it is a good time of year to consider the safety and security of your home and your loved ones. With plenty of shopping to do, why not assemble a list of gifts that could help keep your friends and family safe during an emergency.

Things such as:

– A reflective address sign with house numbers to make the house easier to find;

– A pre-assembled disaster kit for your elderly parents’ home and/or auto;

– A NOAA weather radio with extra batteries;

– Enroll in a CPR or first aid course as a family;

– Smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors

– Emergency Car Kits (blanket, flares, shovels, ice scrapers, flashlights with extra batteries)

– Battery powered lamps- A crank radio/ flashlight with cell phone charger attachments

– Fire Extinguishers (for kitchen, garage, car)

– Pet Disaster Kits (food, water, leashes, dishes, medicines and pet carrier)

It’s so easy to buy items that would go in an emergency disaster kit!  Purchase a backpack and get them started with a few supplies.  Or, put a list together of suggested supplies, share an example of an emergency communications plan, an emergency plan for their pets, or a list of emergency numbers!

You could even leave a handwritten note to ask the family to discuss what they would do in the event of a disaster or emergency. This includes developing a simple family communication plan and identifying how you would get into touch with your loved ones or where to meet if you are separated and can’t get back home.

This year consider at least one of these ideas. You may just save the life of a friend or family member.