September is National Preparedness Month, a public campaign to increase the level of basic preparedness measures across the nation. It is a time to reflect and prepare yourself and those in your care for emergency situations and disasters. With over 70 major disaster declarations so far this year, it is important that you take preparedness measures now.
During a large emergency or disaster, first responders may not be able to reach you quickly. Being able to take care of yourself and those in your care will not only help you, but also your local responders and the community; the more people who are prepared, the quicker a community will recover from a disaster. By following these four steps, you too can be prepared:
Stay Informed: Know the hazards and risks in your area. Information is available from federal, state, and local resources.
Make a Plan: Discuss and agree on an emergency plan with those in your care. Document the plan for later reference.
Build a Kit: Gather and store enough emergency supplies to last at least a week for you and those in your care. This includes: water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlights, and a battery-powered radio.
Get Involved: Find out how you can promote readiness in your community by contacting your local emergency management office. Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management offers Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for adults and Disaster Ready Kids, a program designed to teach children about home safety and what to do during storms and disasters.
More information about developing a family emergency plan, building an emergency kit, and getting involved can be found at www.ready.gov; the Spanish version of the website is www.listo.gov. For additional information about Jefferson County Homeland Security & Emergency Management's programs, please call 304-724-8914.