September is National Preparedness Month and this year’s theme is “A Lasting Legacy.” It is a reminder that the life you’ve built is worth protecting by preparing for disasters. There are many ways that you can prepare your family for a disaster.
Make a plan
The first step is to make a plan that includes a safe meeting place and who to contact, including an out-of-town person. You can set up text groups with your friends and family for easy check-in. Compile your important papers and take pictures of your property. Ensure that your insurance is up-to-date and will cover all hazards appropriate for your area. If you have pets be sure to have a picture of your pet to use for ID purposes. Make sure that they are wearing tags – that will help to ID them if you would get separated. If a person in your household is dependent on electricity for their medical equipment, work with your local electric company to be placed on a priority list for restoration of electricity during an outage.
Build a kit
Next, build a kit of the essential items in a container that can withstand water and be easily carried with you. This kit should include food and water for 72 hours, medications, a first aid kit, supplies for kids (such as toys and comfort items), tools, battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, a whistle, cleaning supplies, and some cash. If you have a baby, be sure to include formula, diapers, and wipes. If you have a pet, make sure that you have pet food, extra water, and possibly a favorite toy. Do you have a person with disabilities in the home? What extra items might they need? Would it be a spare tire for a wheelchair, extra batteries, or a portable battery charger for devices that are used for communication?
Finally, take action by practicing your evacuation plans with your family, and pets should be included. Teach your children when and how to call 911. Sign yourself and your family up to receive emergency and weather alerts- locally you can subscribe to NIXLE by texting your zip code to 888777 or going to local.nixle.com/register. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office also has an app that you can download to your phone by searching “Fayette County Sheriff Ohio” in the app store.
The Fayette County Public Health Emergency Preparedness page on the Fayette County Public Health website lists several resources to include in a 4-week shopping guide for kit preparation. There are also links to the FEMS Ready.gov and CDC. So be prepared and protect your legacy.
Megan Batson, BS, REHS, is the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Fayette County Public Health. For more information about emergency preparedness, visit faycohd.org