National Preparedness Month - Storm Prep
September is National Preparedness Month. When it comes to preparedness we could write an endless number of blogs. Our service area is effected by natural disasters such as severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding each year. We also see a high number of isolated disasters where flood or fire effects just one home or business. Past blogs and blogs we will publish in the future will discuss many different disasters that effort our area. Today we want to touch on general preparedness that can help when any sort of disaster strikes.
Ready.gov has a whole outline of things people can do each week to be better prepared. Week one’s theme is “Make a plan for yourself, family, and friends”. There are suggestions to be found everywhere. We will even cover a few as well. But all the suggestions in the world cannot form a personalized plan for you and your family. The best person to make a plan for you, is YOU! Take action during this month. Put pen to paper a form a real plan for your family. If you are a business owner reading this, make sure your plans for the work place are clear, concise, and readily available.
During a disaster, you will always need to seek shelter, but depending on the disaster that shelter will differ. If your home or business is threatened by fire your shelter will obviously be outside of the structure. Do you have a plan to exit the structure orderly? Do you have a plan of exit for each bedroom of your home? How about a backup plan if the first route is blocked or cutoff? Once safely out and away from the structure is there an established rendezvous point? Do you have functional smoke alarms that will alert your family when something is wrong?
During other disasters such as a tornado you need to shelter in place. Have you established the safest place in your home or business to seek shelter in this event? If a storm strikes and you are separated from your family do we have a plan to locate the rest of the family and a designated meeting spot? Once sheltered, how long can you survive there if trapped? Do you have a preparedness kit that includes food, water, and needed medications for your family and pets for at least three days?
Drawing a map of your evacuation or shelter plan and having a family discussion is great first step. Now practice the plan! See if the plan is feasible, time the plan in action. See where you can improve and make needed adjustments.
The last suggestion is to stay informed. Be aware of your surroundings. Use technology to your advantage by signing up of weather alerts.
All of this may be a little overwhelming. We have asked a lot of serious question that demand serious consideration. Take it one question at a time! Use the many resources out there to help you from ready.gov and fema.gov. Our social media accounts, which you will find a link to at the bottom of this article will provide many great suggestions as well as links to practical exercises and documents useful to putting a plan together over the next few weeks. Don’t delay. Start implementing a plan of action today, it could mean your life, or the life of your family.