Be prepared this month, all year long
September is National Preparedness Month, and it’s being marked by the state of Maryland and Charles County as well. Emergency management officials are urging citizens to develop emergency plans for their families, pets and communities.
The county’s department of emergency services (www.charlescountymd.gov/es/) reminds residents that it’s a good time to participate in events to help promote disaster preparedness.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency is on the front lines of this awareness campaign as well. “The flooding in Ellicott City this summer should be a reminder to all of us that disasters can strike anytime,” MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland said this month. “We need to remember that this is the most likely time of year for a hurricane to hit our area. Don’t wait until a disaster is on your doorstep to start preparing.”
Indeed, some of the area’s worst hurricanes and tropical storms have come during September. And with Tropical Storm Lisa and Tropical Depression Karl twisting around in the North Atlantic this week, it’s food for thought.
Strickland said making preparations during routine times, when threats are not imminent, can make communities more resilient later. Weather hazards common to this area include flooding, high winds and severe thunderstorms during warmer months, and snow and ice during the winter.
One of the easiest ways to be prepared is to build an emergency supply kit. The kits are a collection of basic items families 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.
MEMA also recommends remembering items like diapers, baby 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.
More ideas and information for preparing for adverse weather can be found at www.mema.maryland.gov/Pages/emergencies.aspx, a Federal Emergency Management Agency site, www.ready.gov, or at the National Weather Service’s www.weather.gov/safety.
We join with emergency management officials 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.