For the last twelve years, September has been designated as National Preparedness Month. The theme for this year is:
Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.
All too often we get involved in the day to day things and don’t think about the possibility of a disaster until we experience it. But the truth is that we ALL will encounter some type of disaster in our lifetime. This year’s theme reminds us of the importance to be prepared by following some very simple words- BE INFORMED, MAKE A PLAN, BUILD A KIT! The importance of making a plan for your family, including your pets, has been demonstrated time and again from September 11th to Hurricane Sandy.
Be Informed- Identify what you and your family will do before, during, and after and a disaster. Identify the potential emergencies in your community and geographic area but, and this is very important, be prepared to handle any type of emergency. This is commonly referred to as “all hazards” planning. So always use the all hazards approach. You and your family (or you and your colleagues) should be prepared to:
- Shelter in place
- Evacuate if necessary
Make A Plan- Discuss with everyone in your office or household about how you would evacuate, where would you go, and how do you communicate when people are scattered about doing the routine business of the day. What about your pets left at home? When making a plan include:
–the entire household
– dietary needs
– people with special needs
– language and cultural issues
–functional needs and adaptive equipment.
Build A Kit- You should always have a basic emergency supply kit on hand at all times and maintain it. Maintenance includes adding and removing items as your family changes and replenishing those outdated supplies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests keeping a three day supply of food and water. RBC Limited suggests at least 7 days if it is possible for you. When the critical infrastructure is disrupted such as electricity, it may be some time before everything is up and running. Even if you have a generator, there may not be fuel available. The FEMA website has a complete listing of items to build a kit. At a minimum you should have the following on hand:
- Flashlight and batteries
- First aid kit
- All prescription medications
- Manual can opener
- Extra cell phone chargers or special battery packs that for devices.
Don’t forget to participate in America’s PrepareAthon Day! September 30th is the national day of action. Go to www.community.fema.gov and join the grassroots campaign to increase awareness and preparedness for you and your community.
Go the following links for additional information and resources.
Barbara B. Citarella is President & CEO of RBC Limited.