September is National Preparedness Month and now is the time to take simple steps to prepare your home, business and school for the next emergency that may affect your area, advises Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes.
The first step in getting prepared is to make a plan. You may not be at home or with your family when an emergency occurs, so you must have a plan for getting everyone back together and to a safe place. According to Ready.gov and FEMA, a key tip in communication is to complete a contact card for each family member that includes important information and phone numbers and have them keep it handy in a purse, wallet or backpack. Discuss how you'll contact each other, where you'll meet and what you'll do in different situations, and add that into your plan. Your children's school and even your workplace should have plans for emergency situations, as well.
You also want to create a kit. Your emergency preparedness kit should include a stockpile of items, consisting of at least a three-day supply of bottled water, non-perishable foods and essential medications set aside for each member of your family and your pets.
Don't forget to stay informed. A reminder from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to check all types of media including websites, newspapers, radio, TV, and mobile and land phones for global, national and local information. During an emergency, your local Emergency Management or Emergency Services office will give you information on such things as open shelters and evacuation orders.
To download a Family Emergency Plan worksheet, go to http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/FamEmePlan_2013.pdf
For other resources on Emergency Preparedness, including making an emergency kit and staying informed, visit www.ready.gov.