Don’t wait — pre­pare

Record Observer - - OPINION -

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.

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