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Homeland Security urges preparedness

By Staff | Jan 6, 2012

The Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management office is currently promoting emergency preparedness for 2012. To help spread the word, that office is asking citizens of Jefferson County to make a resolution to be prepared for emergencies in 2012 and beyond. Roughly half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions and commit to improving their lifestyles or reaching a long-term goal. This year, why not make a resolution that is easy to keep and can save lives and protect property.

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready Campaign, Resolve to Be Ready is a nationwide effort designed to increase awareness as well as encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to take action and prepare for emergencies in the new year.

Of citizens surveyed at the Jefferson County Fair, 62 percent are aware of their company’s/school’s emergency plan in case of a disaster/emergency; 17 percent have prepared a disaster supply kit for their home; 16 percent have prepared a small disaster supply kit for their car; 15 percent have identified meeting locations for their family and only four percent have been involved in volunteering for emergency preparedness organizations.

One way to make a preparedness resolution is to take four important steps:

Be informed. Know the hazards and risks in the area.

Make a family emergency plan so that you would know how to communicate with and located loved ones if a disaster occurred.

Build an emergency supply kit, both at home and for the car, that includes water, food and first aid supplies to help you survive if you lose power or get stranded in the car. This is especially important for dealing with icy roads and snowstorms this winter.

Get involved. Find out how to promote preparedness in the community.

“We hope that all families and businesses will Resolve to Be Ready in 2012,” said Barbara Miller, director of Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Whether it’s a snowstorm, tornado, a thunderstorm that has taken down power lines or something of a man-made nature, we all need to be ready to take care of our families and pets for a minimum of a week without restocking supplies.”

Emergencies can range from inconveniences to devastation, but one can resolve not to be a victim of an emergency or disaster and take steps to minimize the impact on self, family and business. More information is available at Ready.gov. The website includes free information, checklists and guidelines about how to be informed, develop a family emergency plan, build an emergency kit and get involved. For additional information about Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management programs, visit www.jeffersoncountywv.org/homeland-security.html.