September is National Preparedness Month. Are you Ready?

As Hurricane Dorian leaves its path of destruction and devastation, we are all reminded that emergencies of all types and sizes can and do occur. No community or family is immune.

Are you prepared?

If you had to evacuate would you know what to bring? If you had to shelter in place and lost power, would you have food and water for an extended period?

Everyone should take simple steps to be prepared to stay safe during an emergency.

Get informed.

Learn about the emergencies that could impact your neighborhood, your town and your geographic region. For example, is your residential area prone to flooding during heavy rains? Does your neighborhood experience power outages? Understanding the potential risks can help inform how best you can prepare.

Make a plan.

Once you have identified the hazards or threats your community may face, identify activities that you will need to undertake should an emergency occur.

Have important documents (birth certificate, social security card, home title or deed, medical information, important contacts, etc.) copied and stored in a fire proof safe. If you need to leave your home for an extended period, you may need these documents.

If you take daily medication, you will need to ensure that you have enough to last for a minimum of three days. If possible, try to arrange for seven days. Write down all doctors and pharmacy contact information and keep them with you.

Know what to do if you are told to evacuate your home or business. Where would you go? Will your family know where to meet you? Similarly, know what to do if you are told to shelter-in-place and do not leave your home or business.

Get a kit / make a kit.

Build or buy a kit with various household supplies, food, water, medical/first aid supplies. You should have enough supplies to last for a minimum of three days. Remember to include pet food and pet medications if applicable.

Here is a recommended list of items to include in a basic emergency supply kit:

  • Non-perishable food & manual can opener
  • Water- 1 gallon per day per person (if you have a family of 4, you will need at least 4 gallons of water per day. Increase this if you also have pets)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight & 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
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Cash (ATMs may not be functional)

By following these three simple steps, you can feel better about taking personal action to help prepare if a disaster were to occur.

Watch Health Matters “How to Protect Yourself from Emergencies

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