September is both National Preparedness and Maryland Preparedness Month. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency reminds Marylanders that September is a good time to review preparedness information for severe weather and other emergencies.
“The flooding in Ellicott City in late July should be a reminder to all of us that disasters can strike anytime,” said Russ Strickland, executive director of MEMA. “And with three storms and depressions swirling around this week, we need to remember that this is the most likely time of the year for a hurricane to hit our area. Don’t wait until a disaster is on your doorstep to start preparing.”
Making preparations when threats are not imminent can make communities more resilient. Hazards common to Maryland include flooding, high wind, severe thunderstorms and winter storms. Emergency response agencies urge everyone to take steps to make a plan and know what to do during an emergency.
The theme for National Preparedness Month is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”
This is a good time to make a family emergency communication plan. Consider that your entire family may not be together during a disaster — make a plan of how you will reunite after an emergency.
After an emergency happens resources can be strained quickly and you may have to do without electricity, water service, telephone service and access to a grocery store just to name a few. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to have the ability to be selfsufficient after an emergency occurs.
One of the easiest ways to be self-sufficient is to build an emergency supply kit. These kits are a collection of basic items you may need in the event of an emergency. Assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency because you may not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them. Keeping your kit organized in some sort of container also ensures that if you have to evacuate you can quickly take your kit with you.
There are a number of basic items that should go into the kit that you probably already have around the house, like water, food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a can opener and a radio. There are other items that you may not have thought about or may not have at home, like dust masks, moist towelettes, garbage bags or a sleeping bag.
Remember things like diapers, formula, medications, contact lenses and supplies, special food, or coloring books and activities for kids. You can get a full listing of what should go in your emergency kit and how you can maintain it at ready.gov/build-a-kit.
A resilient community is one that is prepared for an emergency, and that preparation can’t be done solely by government officials. It takes individuals, families, businesses, schools, churches and community-based organizations getting involved and joining together.
Residents should also talk to and work with their local emergency officials. By talking to local officials, citizens gain valuable insight, lend input, and develop relationships for planning and communicating before an emergency strikes.
We join state and federal agencies in calling for everyone to take steps to become better prepared for an emergency; whether it’s at home, at work, at school or in the community, there’s a lot that you can do to be ready and help others be ready, too.
For more preparedness information or to find out how to volunteer, contact the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services at 410-658-5555 or visit fema.gov and ready.gov.