Sheriff: Take steps to make sure you are ready for emergencies

When disaster strikes or an emergency occurs, many of us are caught off guard. But there are steps you can take to make sure you’re ready to respond. 

September is National Preparedness Month. Use this time to review your family’s safety plans and to plan for emergencies. The 2021 theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”

September was chosen as National Preparedness Month following Sept. 11, 2001. The 9/11 tragedies highlighted to the nation the importance of being prepared.

Planning and preparing for natural disasters and other emergencies can greatly reduce the impact these situations have on your family. The first key to disaster response is being aware of what emergencies you might face, be it fire, flood, tornado, or other emergencies.

When faced with an emergency, you should always dial 911. However, in a widespread community emergency, police and first responders may not be able to reach you quickly.

That’s why it’s crucial to plan now for how you will respond. It’s advised families make a plan to survive three days without electricity, water service or access to a store.

Ready.gov contains information on how to plan for specific emergencies and how to put together a disaster supplies kit to meet your individual family’s needs.

Families are encouraged to focus on a different area each week to make sure they’re prepared.

·       Week 1: Make a plan

o   Talk about how you will communicate before, during and after a disaster. Make sure you know how to get emergency alerts and messages before you need them.

·       Week 2: Build a kit

o   Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster and will be enough for all members of your household. Make sure to plan for any medications needed.

·       Week 3: Prepare for disasters

o   Educate yourself about the types of disaster that could impact your area. Check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other hazards.

·       Week 4: Teach youth about preparedness

o   Discuss how to prepare for emergencies with your children and what to do in the event you’re separated. Providing information and planning can make them feel safer.

Take time this September and fall to discuss potential emergencies your family might face, plan for how you will respond and assemble a disaster kit to help you respond when disaster strikes.  Most importantly, be prepared.