Contributed by Department of Fire and Rescue
September is National Preparedness Month
This year, the weather in the Mid-Atlantic States has been relatively calm compared to the past few years with hurricanes, flooding and other disasters. However, the need to be prepared for emergencies should never wane but remain highlighted. September is National Preparedness Month; there is no better time to prepare for emergencies than the present. By following a few simple and low-cost steps, you can prepare and protect your family, business, neighborhood and community when emergencies and disasters arise.
Stay Informed & Get Alerts. Getting reliable information during an emergency situation is vital. The National Weather Service broadcasts warnings and post-event information 24 hours a day for all types of hazards – including natural (severe weather), environmental (chemical release or oil spill) and public safety (amber alert or 911 outage). Make sure you do the following:
- Have a NOAA Weather Radio at home and at your worksite. Like a fire alarm, NOAA Weather Radios sound when there is an emergency in your area.
- Register on the County’s emergency notification system – PWCAN – to receive emergency information. It’s easy and free. Go to www.pwcgov.org/pwcan.
Make a family emergency plan. When a disaster occurs, your family may not be at home or together. Make sure everyone knows how to get in touch and where to go.
- Designate a safe-room in the house where everyone can gather. The best choice is an inside room above ground with few windows and doors.
- Choose an out-of-town emergency contact. Families may not be together when an emergency happens, and often it’s easier to make a long distance call than a local call during emergencies. The out-of-town contact can relay messages to other family members that you’re ok.
- Select a safe gathering place outside of town where everyone can meet if evacuation is necessary.
- Familiarize yourself with emergency plans for places where you and your family may be located such as schools, day care providers, and businesses.
- You can design your family emergency plan at www.ReadyNOVA.org or get a family emergency plan worksheet at www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
Make an Emergency Supply Kit! Families and individuals should plan as though they will be without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or other local services. Below is a list of essential items for your emergency supply kit:
At least three days of supplies for each family member:
o Food that won’t spoil, such as canned goods and packaged foods o Water, at least one gallon per person per day
o Essential medications
Other items useful in an emergency supply kit:
o A NOAA Weather radio
o A hand-crank or battery-powered AM/FM radio and extra batteries
o A family emergency plan
o Flashlights with extra batteries
o First aid kit
o List of prescriptions and doctors
o Special items for young children and disabled or older family members o Food and water for your pets
Check Your Policy
Take a few minutes to review your insurance policy this month. Contact your agent to make any necessary changes. Consider adding flood insurance because most policies don’t include it. Renters can get flood insurance too. For more information, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
To learn how to protect you and your loved ones during an emergency, visit www.pwcgov.org/emergency, www.ReadyVirginia.gov and www.ready.gov.
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