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Ready for National Preparedness Month? 3 Recommendations to Get Started

13 Sep. 2017 Posted by aadams

Marcia O’Boyle, FEI EAP Services Center Manager

September is both National Preparedness Month and the heart of hurricane season. While many of our neighbors began putting their lives back together after the devastation of one hurricane, another quickly followed on its heels—with yet more brewing.

As our thoughts, prayers and help go out to everyone affected and potentially affected by Harvey, Irma and the other natural disasters occurring across the county, those not directly impacted are now prompted to think, “What if that happened to me?”

The first step in preparation is to have a plan before a devastating event happens—be it hurricanes, earthquakes or wildfires. Plenty of helpful planning resources exist online, and some are of particular relevance. Here are three areas you can take action on now.

Keep up with your important and precious documents.

Copy documents onto a flash drive (or two), or other backup system. Documents can include drivers’ licenses, health insurance cards or passports as well as paperwork related to home ownership, car titles or bank account information.

Backing up precious belongings like family photos or home videos is equally important, as physical copies can be lost during flooding or in fires.

Know your escape routes. 

How familiar are you with the neighborhood? Having a paper map of your local area can be a handy tool when identifying possible destinations for safety and detailing multiple routes to each. Additionally, make sure you can leave the property. For instance, are you able to open the garage door if there is no power? Do you live in a known floodplain? Are there bridges or other infrastructure nearby that could cause problems during an evacuation?

Also, check that the car is gassed up or charged and in adequate working order to get you to your destination. We recommend never letting your car dip below a quarter of a tank of gas.

Prepare yourself—and your family—for a crisis situation.

Provisions and supplies can be divided into packs and typically carried without strain for two or three hours. Items to consider for emergency kits are: Two-way radios for each family member
in case communication lines are not working; solar battery chargers and charging cards for devices such as cell phones or laptops; and food, water and first aid supplies. Carry medicines and cash as needed. Additional items may be necessary for children, elderly or those with
physical challenges.

Note that it’s a good idea also to have provisions in a few different places throughout the home in case one of the locations becomes inaccessible. Having all supplies in the basement is of little use if the basement is completely flooded, for example.

Finally, make sure you have a pet carrier, leash and name and number of your vet. Know where your local humane society is, as it can assist with your pets’ needs.

Remember, natural disasters and other crisis events can happen at any time, and sometimes without warning. Planning for worst-case scenarios and maintaining preparedness keeps you and your loved ones safe.

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