NA­TIONAL PRE­PARED­NESS MONTH

Help­ful re­sources for times of trou­ble

American Survival Guide - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Steven Paul Bar­low

If you’re read­ing this mag­a­zine, I as­sume you are an in­de­pen­dent per­son who has taken pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity for your own sur­vival. You know that you are the first, and last, lines of de­fense for your own safety and se­cu­rity.

But we all ap­pre­ci­ate a lit­tle help some­times.

Cat­a­strophic weather events—hurricanes, floods, wild­fires, tor­na­does, bliz­zards—can turn your town into a waste­land. Ter­ror­ist acts in the form of chem­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal and ra­di­o­log­i­cal at­tacks are re­al­is­tic pos­si­bil­i­ties these days. Emer­gency ser­vices (po­lice, fire, EMS) are stretched to the limit in the af­ter­math of dis­as­ters.

Com­mu­ni­ties have to pull to­gether; they must get in­volved. And, as much as we might be re­luc­tant to ad­mit it, some­times, we even need the help of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Still, even un­der

the best cir­cum­stances, the re­sponse of gov­ern­ment agen­cies to any dis­as­ter can still mean you’ll have to fend for your­self for a num­ber of days, or per­haps longer, be­fore help can reach you.

GET­TING THE WORD OUT

You know this; and you’ve stock­piled sup­plies and cre­ated an emer­gency plan.

But what about your el­derly grand­mother or your dis­abled next-door neigh­bor? The Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA), now op­er­at­ing un­der the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity (DHS), wants your help in get­ting the word out to your friends and neigh­bors that we all need to be pre­pared for any num­ber of calami­ties.

To do this, DHS has des­ig­nated each Septem­ber since 2004 as Na­tional Pre­pared­ness Month.

Ac­cord­ing to FEMA’S web­site, “Septem­ber was cho­sen as Na­tional Pre­pared­ness Month, as the tragedies of Septem­ber 11, 2001 high­lighted to the na­tion the im­por­tance of be­ing pre­pared. Also, Septem­ber has been cho­sen partly be­cause the peak of the At­lantic hur­ri­cane sea­son is in mid-septem­ber.”

FEMA Spokesper­son Stephanie Moffett noted that “Na­tional Pre­pared­ness Month (NPM) is a na­tion­wide ef­fort to in­crease public aware­ness about the im­por­tance of prepar­ing for emer­gen­cies, in­clud­ing

“CERT MEM­BERS LEARN ABOUT DIS­AS­TER-PRE­PARED­NESS FOR HAZ­ARDS THAT MAY IM­PACT THEIR AREA AND ARE TRAINED IN BA­SIC DIS­AS­TER-RE­SPONSE SKILLS … ”

nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and po­ten­tial ter­ror­ist at­tacks, and to en­cour­age in­di­vid­u­als to take ac­tion to pre­pare them­selves and their fam­i­lies. Na­tional Pre­pared­ness Month pro­motes ac­tiv­i­ties across the na­tion to en­cour­age in­di­vid­u­als to get an emer­gency sup­ply kit, make a fam­ily emer­gency plan, be­come in­formed about dif­fer­ent threats and get in­volved in prepar­ing their com­mu­ni­ties for pos­si­ble emer­gen­cies by host­ing or sup­port­ing drills, ex­er­cises and dis­cus­sions.”

While the drive to get the word out is an on­go­ing ef­fort, ev­ery­thing is height­ened dur­ing Septem­ber.

“Each year, Na­tional Pre­pared­ness Month has an over­ar­ch­ing theme, and for 2017, it will be ‘Don’t Wait. Com­mu­ni­cate,’” Moffett added.

A GOOD WAY FOR A PER­SON TO GET STARTED WITH EMER­GENCY PREPA­RA­TIONS IS TO EX­PLORE FEMA’S WEB­SITE ... AT WWW. READY.GOV.

• Sign up for lo­cal text alerts and warn­ings, and down­load weather apps to your smart­phone so you know when dan­ger is ap­proach­ing and can stay in­formed as you weather the storm in a safe place.

• De­velop an emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan for your fam­ily. You might not be with your loved ones when dis­as­ter strikes, so have a com­mu­ni­ca­tions plan in place so you know how to reach each other and where to meet up when con­di­tions are safe.

• De­velop an emer­gency plan for your pet. Have a go-bag with pet sup­plies (i.e., food and med­i­ca­tion) in a safe place next to yours in case you and your pet have to leave in a hurry. If you have a pet sit­ter, make sure they know your plan, too.

“… THE TRUTH IS, WE’RE NOT POW­ER­LESS— WE CAN TAKE AC­TIONS NOW TO HELP PRE­PARE FOR THE WORST.”

GET THE APP

FEMA also pro­vides ways for you to take its in­for­ma­tion and re­sources with you.

“We, at FEMA, con­tin­u­ously think about how we can get this po­ten­tially life-sav­ing in­for­ma­tion to peo­ple as ef­fec­tively as pos­si­ble,” said Moffett. “We know many peo­ple bring their smart­phones ev­ery­where for en­ter­tain­ment and to stay up to date on break­ing news; and the FEMA app helps us get pre­pared­ness in­for­ma­tion into the palms of their hands.”

Ac­cord­ing to Moffett, the FEMA app is avail­able for free in the App Store for Ap­ple de­vices and Google Play for An­droid de­vices.

“It pro­vides tips (avail­able with or with­out cell ser­vice) on what to do be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter emer­gen­cies and al­lows users to sign up for weather alerts from the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice for up to five dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions any­where in the United States.”

The app also fea­tures a place to share dis­as­ter dam­age pho­tos, in­cludes an emer­gency kit check­list and pro­vides di­rec­tions to open shel­ters. You can find more in­for­ma­tion about the app fea­tures at www.fema.gov/mo­bile-app.

“Com­mu­ni­ties con­duct Pre­pareathon events year-round with a fo­cus on en­cour­ag­ing par­tic­i­pants to take con­crete ac­tions, such as par­tic­i­pat­ing in a drill, ex­er­cise or dis­cus­sion,” Moffett ex­plained. “Pre­pareathon events are unique to each com­mu­nity and might be aligned to a par­tic­u­lar theme in the Ready Cam­paign’s Na­tional Sea­sonal Pre­pared­ness Cal­en­dar. Dur­ing NPM, FEMA cel­e­brates out­stand­ing com­mu­nity ac­com­plish­ments through na­tional-level recog­ni­tion.”

FEMA also en­cour­ages the for­ma­tion of Com­mu­nity Emer­gency Re­sponse Teams (CERT).

Ac­cord­ing to Moffett, “CERT mem­bers learn about dis­as­ter-pre­pared­ness for haz­ards that may im­pact their area and are trained in ba­sic dis­as­ter-re­sponse skills, such as fire safety, light searc­hand-res­cue, team or­ga­ni­za­tion and dis­as­ter med­i­cal op­er­a­tions. Us­ing train­ing learned in the class­room and dur­ing ex­er­cises, CERT vol­un­teers can as­sist oth­ers in their com­mu­nity fol­low­ing a dis­as­ter when pro­fes­sional re­spon­ders are not im­me­di­ately avail­able to help.”

More in­for­ma­tion on CERT ac­tiv­i­ties is avail­able at www.fema.gov/com­mu­ni­tye­mer­gency-re­sponse-teams and www.ready.gov/get-in­volved.

“… THE FEMA APP IS AVAIL­ABLE FOR FREE … IT PRO­VIDES TIPS … ON WHAT TO DO BE­FORE, DUR­ING AND AF­TER EMER­GEN­CIES … ”

PRE­PARE NOW

“When neigh­bor­hoods are struck by a storm, many feel pow­er­less,” said Moffett. “But the truth is, we’re not pow­er­less—we can take ac­tions now to help pre­pare for the worst.”

A mem­ber of a HAZ­MAT team sprays the burned re­mains of homes dur­ing a de­bris re­moval op­er­a­tion in Mid­dle­town, Cal­i­for­nia, to pre­vent toxic chem­i­cals from go­ing air­borne. (Photo: FEMA/ADAM Dubrowa)

Prepar­ing an emer­gency kit should be a fam­ily event so that ev­ery­one knows what the kit con­tains and where it will be kept. (Photo: Fema/zachary Kit­trie)

Emer­gency equip­ment is on dis­play at the Marsh­field, Mas­sachusetts, Safety Day in 2014. Events such as this show cit­i­zens the range of emer­gency ser­vices avail­able via var­i­ous agen­cies for de­ploy­ment dur­ing dis­as­ters. (Photo: FEMA/EILIS May­nard)

Be­low: FEMA of­fi­cials take part in a Pre­pareathon event in New York City in 2015 to en­cour­age peo­ple to pre­pare for pos­si­ble emer­gency sit­u­a­tions. (Photo: FEMA/K.C. Wilsey)

Be­low: In­spec­tors from the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA) check for po­ten­tially toxic con­tam­i­nants af­ter se­vere fires burned homes in Mid­dle­town, Cal­i­for­nia, in 2015. (Photo: FEMA/ADAM Dubrowa)

Earthquakes, such as the 6.0 mag­ni­tude quake that hit Napa, Cal­i­for­nia, in 2014, can have long-last­ing, dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects. (Photo: FEMA/EILIS May­nard)

Com­mu­ni­ties dec­i­mated by a dis­as­ter of­ten de­pend on vol­un­teers to as­sist in dis­tribut­ing sup­plies to sur­viv­ing res­i­dents. (Photo: Fema/jo­ce­lyn Au­gustino)

Ready­cam­pus events, spon­sored by FEMA, give col­lege stu­dents hands-on demon­stra­tions to stress the need for education and pre­pared­ness for emer­gen­cies. (Photo: FEMA/STEVE Zumwalt)

A kit in a can: Red Cross Emer­gency Smart­packs are ex­am­ples of ready-made, easy-to-store emer­gency sup­plies. (Photo: FEMA/ Steve Zumwalt) The Na­tional Guard is of­ten called in to as­sist in sup­ply­ing meals and drink­ing wa­ter to peo­ple in ar­eas hard hit...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.