This Sunday marks 15 years since the attacks in Shanksville, Penn., Washington D.C., and New York City. As we remember this mournful day, we also need to remember how our neighbors across the National continue to experience the many hardships of disasters, hardships which are the result of historic floods, historic drought, earthquakes, severe weather, and even the daily emergencies which threaten lives, neighborhoods, and communities.
National Preparedness Month is observed each September to encourage individuals and families to take the necessary steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses, and places of worship. If more citizens take action to be ready for emergencies, the more likely our Nation as a whole will be prepared for all hazards, whether natural or man-made. National Preparedness Month is in its 13th year as an opportunity to share emergency preparedness information to help Americans understand what it truly means to be ready.
The following provides information and links to resources on getting emergency plans and resources in place so you and your family be ready for emergencies.
The first step in emergency preparedness is to create a written emergency plan for you and your family. Basic emergency plans include information such as:
• The evacuation procedure for your home, in case of fire or flood, so everyone will know which exits to take during a home emergency;
• How family members should contact each other if they are separated in a disaster;
• Where family members should meet after evacuating their home, or if your neighborhood is being evacuated; and,
• The important contact phone numbers for work locations, medical providers, and insurance carriers.
Also, check the emergency plans and preparations for places where you and your family spend time such as schools, day cares, sports facilities, and faith organizations. It is also important to have an emergency kit in every automobile your family uses.
Finally, make sure you exercise your plans with your family. Practice a family fire drill or try out your communication plan on a day when you know family members will be separated.
Emergency Kit Basics
The contents of a well-stocked disaster kit vary depending on household needs. There are certain essentials for any kit:
• Water – at least a gallon per person per day, for three to five days
• Nonperishable food (such as dried fruit or peanut butter) – enough per person for three to five days
• Pet supplies
• Pet food and water
• Baby supplies (formula, diapers)
• Weather radio (battery-powered or hand-crank) and extra batteries
• First-aid kit
• Prescription medications and glasses
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Dust mask (to filter contaminated air)
• Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Cellphone (with charger, inverter or solar charger)
• Matches in a waterproof container
• Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap
• Paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, paper towels
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
• Whistle (to call for help)
• Can opener (manual)
• Local maps
• Extra batteries
More information on emergency plans and preparedness can be found at www.ready.gov, with sections that include family emergency communication plans and emergency plans for kids.
For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov/september.
About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. Follow TEMA on Facebook, TNDisasterInfo, on Twitter, @T_E_M_A, and at www.tnema.org.