September is National Preparedness Month. It is a great time to go over your plans for home, work and your car/mode of transportation in the event of a disaster. Disasters can strike anytime, anywhere, and while some may provide warning of their appearance, like a flood or storm, many do not. It is important to be disaster aware.
Knowing about the local emergency contacts, plans for sheltering and evacuation routes will help you develop your household plan and will aid you during a crisis. By building a plan for your household members customized for where you live, work, attend school and frequent you will help reduce the impact of disasters and save lives.
Things to Think About
- Remember to plan for people with disabilities, special needs, senior citizens who need additional time or support and pets.
- Make a plan for ensuring needed medication is on hand, babies and young children have necessary items such as diapers and formula and even a favored toy for young children.
- Don’t forget to also keep a list of medications, dosage, known allergies and a contact number for your doctor’s office with you in your wallet, purse and emergency kit.
Before a disaster, identify how you will be alerted of an impending hazardous event. NOAA Weather Radios are the best way to receive weather alerts. TV, Radio and now cell phone alerts are additional ways to receive alerts and warning messages. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are free, automatic text messages that will send emergency alerts, including weather warnings and AMBER Alerts, to your cell phone. This is a newer program and you may have already seen these messages or the monthly test messages appear on your phone. While they aren’t the only resource for alerts you should rely on, it is another tool to receive crucial information.
Make a Kit
A kit should be customized to your household’s needs, including non-perishable food, water, medication, clothing, blankets, NOAA radio, batteries, flashlights, whistles, closed-toe shoes, charging cables for electronic devices with a backup battery charger, baby care items such as diapers and formula, tools to shut off utilities and gas lines, and other essential items. For home safety, store important documents, serial numbers, images and even a video tour of your home in a fire-resistant safe on removable storage device you can update such as a “thumb drive” flash media device.
Where to Start
If you haven’t begun any of these plans yet, start by going to http://www.ready.gov/september and review the tools and tips in the National Preparedness Toolkit and the advice listed. You can also register for the National PrepareAthon! on Sept. 30. For more information, check out http://www.ready.gov/minnesota or #NatlPrep