Don’t wait — prepare
Last month, Hurricane Harvey dumped rain all over Texas and Louisiana — in some areas, more than 51 inches. Disaster relief volunteers flocked to the coastal Southwest, including more than 100 from the Red Cross Greater Chesapeake Region, to assist with sheltering, food provisions and other emergency aid in the face of devastating flooding.
While Maryland was fortunately nowhere near Harvey’s path, the state is no stranger to historically damaging hurricanes and tropical storms, especially this time of year.
We can all knock on wood that we’ll continue to be spared this hurricane season, but gambling on the weather doesn’t exactly sound like the best strategy for keeping safe.
This week, the Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services reminded residents to take steps to be prepared.
“There has been a lot of talk about Hurricane Irma,” DES officials said in a statement. “We are still too far out to see how the storm will affect Queen Anne’s County, but everyone should still be prepared since it is hurricane season.”
September is National Preparedness Month, celebrated by Maryland as well, and government agencies, businesses, community groups, schools and families are all participating in events under the same safety theme: “Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can.”
“The devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey should remind us that we all need to be prepared for emergencies,” said Russ Strickland, executive director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, in a statement. “Right now we are in the height of the hurricane season in the mid-Atlantic, but we also need to be ready for a variety of other threats. Now is the time to make sure you are prepared.”
In fact, now is the time to get prepared, before any damaging storms are even in sight. Weather hazards in Maryland include flooding, high winds, severe thunderstorms and winter storms. Suggestions for preparing for any of these events, taken from www.ready.gov, include:
• Discussing four questions with family, friends or the household: “How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?”; “What is my shelter plan?”; “What is my evacuation route?”; and “What is my family/household communication plan?”;
• Filling out a Family Emergency Plan, as found at www. ready.gov/make-a-plan, and tailoring it to specific daily living needs and responsibilities. For instance, keep in mind the different ages of family members, responsibilities for assisting others, locations frequented by family members, dietary and medical needs, disabilities, languages spoken, as well as cultural and religious considerations, any pets or service animals and school-aged children; and
• Having a conversation with the people in your network about how communication will work, who will care for children or pets and who is in charge of medical equipment.
Don’t wait around until a devastating storm like Harvey strikes our area. Before the wind and rains even blow through, get prepared and be safe.