September is National Preparedness month, and the theme is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.” Be aware of natural or man-made disasters that are most likely to occur in your area. Do you live in a part of the country susceptible to wildfires, earthquakes, or flooding? Is your home near an area vulnerable to chemical spills, acts of terrorism, or mass pandemics? There are different types of hazards or disasters which affects the decisions you make and the actions you take. However, there are some things you can do—regardless of the situation—in order to take action and prepare:
• Talk with your family about what you would do if an emergency situation arises. Create a family emergency plan. Does your family have a designated meeting place for family members to go if you are separated?
• Make a family communications plan. How will you reach each other if the phone lines are down? Do you have a list of relatives to call to let them know you are safe or where you are staying?
• Create an emergency supply kit. Keep a kit in your home in case you need to shelter-in-place for a few days. An extra kit in your car is helpful in winter in case your vehicle goes off the road.
• Stay informed by receiving emergency alerts in case of any disaster, and be aware of local emergency plans for sheltering and evacuation.
All families should have basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days in an emergency. You should at least have water, non-perishable food, a can opener, flashlights, extra batteries, and a first aid kit in your emergency kit. Keep a battery-powered or hand crank radio on-hand to stay informed in case of power outage or sheltering-in-place. Do you have young children? Pack extra formula, bottles, diapers, and wipes. Don’t forget your pets—pack dog food and copies of pet immunization records in your kit, and make sure your pets are wearing their ID tags in case they are lost in an emergency. Find out more at Ready.gov or Readywisconsin.wi.gov. Don’t forget—Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare!