Across the nation, September is known as National Preparedness Month. It began on Sunday, September 1 and is a month long effort to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. The 2019 theme is “Prepared, Not Scared.”
By Melissa Anderson
“Planning is important in many ways,” Karen Kempert, director of Emergency Management for Cavalier County, said. “You can begin your plan by simply sitting down together and playing ‘what if’. ”
Kempert goes on to explain that the “what if” could be if the house was on fire and then develop a plan on where you and other members of your family would meet up in that scenario. Another example of “what if” is if there was a tornado- putting a plan in place for your family to be able to check in and how to reach each other. The “what if” game is one way to prepare not only yourself but children in the household.
“Having a plan is important when these events occur, especially when it comes to letting others know you’re okay or finding out if others are,” Kempert stressed. “It’s important that the plan is in place and practiced so that even if you’re away from family, you all know how the plan will work. The more we practice a plan, the more it becomes almost like habit or muscle memory.”
Preparing yourself and family for all types of emergencies is very important. Preparedness helps you to increase a personal sense of security and peace of mind and gives you the knowledge that you will be ready in case of an emergency.
During the week of September 15 -21, the focus is on teaching youth to be prepare for disasters. Cavalier County, as a whole, is vulnerable to several natural disasters such as winter storms, summer storms, and blizzards, making it a good idea to plan ahead and make a kit.
“Ensure that you have adequate supplies in your home or away to keep warm, comfortable and healthy during events that happen,” Kempert said.
A good emergency kit should include:
• Food- A good amount to have on hand is a three day supply of non-perishable items
• Water- The recommendation to follow is one gallon per day per person
• NOAA weather radio and battery powered, hand crank radio
• First Aid Kit
• Flashlight and batteries
• Garbage bags, ties and a pail for personal sanitation
• Can opener
• Infant supplies- if applicable
• Pet Supplies- if applicable
• Blankets and clothes
• Plates, cups, utensils, paper towels
• Games, books, etc. for yourself and children
“Have a plan to stay warm whether at home or in your vehicle. Have an alternative power supply. Have medication on hand. Have pictures of important papers and credit cards along with insurance policies,” Kempert added.
Storing the items in a way that will protect them from damage is very important. Checking and rotating supplies as necessary is also important to avoid items becoming stale or damaged.
“Know the plan at your workplace, school and daycare center,” Kempert said, “Remember you may not all be together when an emergency happens.”
Once emergency plans have been developed, the next step is to practice it. Emergency Management professionals recommend to do a run through twice per year followed by everyone who participated sitting down to discuss what worked and didn’t work. If something didn’t go as smoothly as it could have, find ways to adapt the plan according to lessons learned during the practice.