Be pre­pared

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

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

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 and

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