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Disasters don’t plan ahead but you can! September is National Emergency Preparedness Month which serves a reminder for all of us to make an emergency plan today.

Have an Emergency Plan

Many emergencies happen without warning, so it’s important that you take steps ahead of time to keep you and your family safe and healthy. One of the most important ways you can prepare is by having an emergency plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it’s important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. And don’t forget to include your pets in your plan. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area. ALERT Franklin County is a state-of-the-art mass notification and warning system designed to inform about emergencies and other important community information throughout Franklin County.

Create an Emergency Kit

When an emergency occurs, you need to be prepared with items to survive with for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of any emergency.

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. A basic emergency supply kit should include the following recommended items:

  • Water (One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)

  • Food (At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)

  • Manual can opener for food

  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

  • Cell phone with chargers and backup battery

  • Flashlight

  • Extra batteries

  • First aid kit

  • Whistle to signal for help

  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and 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

  • Local maps

Since you don’t know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare kits for home, work and your vehicle. More information about building an emergency kit can be found at:

Review Your Plans and Update Your Kit

Preparing does not stop after you have your kit ready and your emergency plan in place. In a real emergency, you may become overwhelmed or confused, so it is important to practice your emergency plan – review the plans and have practice drills with your whole family. Review and replace the contents of your emergency kit every six months. Be sure to check expiration dates on food, water, medicine, and batteries and add any personal items that are unique to your needs. It’s also a good idea to keep your kit in a cool, dry place.

Take Action

Inspire others to be prepared! Research shows that talking about emergency preparedness increases the likelihood of others taking steps to be prepared. Talk to your family and friends about the important steps they can take to be prepared. Be a preparedness role model – volunteer in your community, take a first aid, CPR, or emergency preparedness class. Check your local EMA and Red Cross office schedules for classes.