By Peggy Sadler, Public Safety Committee
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. If you’ve seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We’ve seen tornado outbreaks, river floods, flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time.
Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover. This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these four steps:
· Stay Informed: Information is available from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources. Access www.ready.gov to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.
· Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. Go to www.ready.gov for sample plans. Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to build community resilience.
· Build a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies - water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio on hand - for you and those in your care.
· Get Involved: There are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and places of worship safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree that the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public, and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters.
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
· 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
· Manual can opener for food
· Local maps
· Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
For more information:
Source: National Preparedness Month 2013 Toolkit