MURRAY — Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has proclaimed September as Preparedness Month in the commonwealth, in conjunction with National Preparedness Month.
In recognition of the month, Kentucky Emergency Management is urging Kentuckians to “Be aware, be prepared, have a plan, make a kit.” With residents facing threats to both safety and property throughout the year; ranging from tornadoes, flooding, straight-line winds, lightning, winter storms and other man-made hazards, the need for Kentuckians to prepare is important.
“For folks in our area, a really good way to visualize what they need to do is to think about what they do when there is a prediction of a big winter storm coming,” said Calloway County Emergency Management Director Bill Call. “We all have a pretty good notion of what that might mean; it might mean a loss of transportation, a loss of power, a lack of ability to get to the store or the potential to be stranded in different areas. So if they give that kind of thought to it, and if they think about what they would stockpile and plan for that circumstance, that helps to plan for a whole lot of possibilities.”
Call said that FEMA suggests people be prepared for at least three days of being without outside resources.
“That is good for a lot of circumstances, and if someone can prepare for five or seven days, that would be even better,” Call said. “Depending on how remotely we live or what might happen to us, three days might not be enough. But it is a good starting point and we ask folks to think about that.”
Call said resources for a good kit would include food, water and essential medicines. Another important aspect of preparedness is having a clear plan in place within a family.
“Folks need a way to know how to find each other or communicate with each other,” Call said. “They need to know where to meet and have a rendezvous plan. Every family should have a nighttime fire plan; if a fire broke out in the house and everyone went out different doors and windows, where would they meet?”
Call said the same sort of plan should be in place for any type of emergency. He also said that with the onset of fall, other aspects of fire preparedness such as replacing batteries in smoke detectors is important. He also said that for detectors 10 years old or older, a new detector outright might be a good idea.
Call said that being prepared brings a lot of benefits, including additional peace of mind.
“It certainly reduces anxiety if everyone knows there is a plan and a kit of supplies,” Call said. “Just knowing that there is a plan and provisions reduces a lot of anxiety. And in a lot of emergencies it can save lives.”
A press release from Kentucky Emergency Management offered the following tips for Kentuckians to prepare:
• Stay informed about risks in your communities and monitor weather forecasts.
• Own and monitor a battery backed-up or crank-type NOAA Weather Alert Radio. During threatening weather, stay tuned to your local broadcast stations.
• Discuss conditions with family members and know their locations during dangerous weather.
• Discuss known risks with family members and neighbors.
• Develop and review your emergency plan periodically and update of necessary.
• Assemble an emergency kit(s) and refresh periodically. A kit should have enough food, water and medications for each family member for five days.
• Drill: practice your plan with household members.
Have a plan:
• Share your plan with others, including friends or relatives in another region or even another state
• Medications - prepare a list of all prescription drugs.
• Utilities - Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas and water; if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn them back on.)
• Shelter - Identify safe locations within and outside your residence.
• Contacts - Written contact information for relatives, neighbors, utility companies, employers/employees and local emergency contact telephone numbers.
• Evacuate - Predetermine evacuation routes. Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places, such as a friend or relative’s home in another town, a motel or shelter.
• Children - Make backup plans for children in case you (or they) can’t get home in an emergency.
• Vehicles - Keep jumper cables in all vehicles at all times.
• Maintain at least a half tank of fuel in vehicles.
• Move vehicles away from under trees during possible wind events.
• Keep an emergency kit in all vehicles.
• During winter months, keep a blanket and bag of kitty litter in the trunk.
• Medications - prepare a list of all prescription drugs.
• Pets - have at least a 3 day supply of food and water for each pet. Have carriers, a collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash; familiar items such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.
• Share your plan with others, including friends or relatives in another region or state.
Make an emergency kit:
• First aid kit and essential medications (to include prescription medicines).
• Canned food and can opener
• At least three gallons of water per person
• Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags
• Battery or crank powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries or crank recharging stations that are capable of recharging cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc.
• Waterproof matches and candles
• Local phone book
• Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
• Extra set of car keys
• Cash – as much as you can afford
For more preparedness information, visit www.ready.govand Kentucky Emergency Management at www.kyem.ky.gov. Call said that starting Sept. 12, Calloway County Emergency Management will be hosting its civilian emergency response training (CERT) classes. Those interested should contact Call at 270-293-0068.