Tuesday is the 11th anniversary of the worst day of American history - 9/11. This historic day helps to keep perspective and reminds us to ... "Be informed. Make a plan. Build a kit. Get involved." Why are these phrases relevant today? Because September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.
FEMA's website, http://www.ready.gov/ offers an enormous amount of data to help a business or homeowner prepare for various disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, home fires, biological threats, blackouts, and pandemics.
September, especially Sept. 11, is a reminder to be prepared. Remember the October snowstorm in 2011? Did anyone really anticipate losing their power for a week? Did you have a back-up generator, enough food and water, and necessities? Were you prepared? The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends that you assemble an emergency supply kit, make emergency plans, keep yourself informed, and get involved in helping others prepare for emergencies.
This month marks the ninth annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "One goal of Homeland Security is to educate the public about how to prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters, mass casualties, biological and chemical threats, radiation emergencies, and terrorist attacks," according to http://www.cdc.gov/.
How can you get prepared? Start by building your emergency preparedness kit. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic household items that you may need in the event of an emergency. Have this kit assembled before you need it. You never know when you may have to evacuate your home and need essential items. A kit should include food and water to last three days as well as any essential supplies that you may need until help arrives. A person requires one gallon of water per day, for drinking and sanitization. You will also want a three-day supply of non-perishable food. If you are packing canned goods then make sure to pack a can opener!
You should plan for items that will benefit you if you have no electricity, gas, water, telephone, or sewage. Flashlights, extra batteries, candles, matches, blankets, battery-operated radios, plus a few tools, like a wrench or pliers. First aid kits are important but so is a whistle – to use as a signaling device. Dust masks can filter contaminated air.
Other recommended items for your kit depend on your personal situation. For example, if you have an infant then you should have diapers and changing supplies. Feminine supplies, Moist Toilettes, and other paper products should be placed in a water-proof container. If you wear glasses, then a second pair would be helpful. If you have pets then you need extra water and food for your animals. You may want to take important papers with you, such as your identification cards, insurances cards, bank account records – all placed in a waterproof container. You may want extra cash or Traveler's Checks. A first aid book with first aid items is helpful as well as a sleeping bag or bedding for each member in your family. Change of clothing is good to have packed too, especially for cold weather.
Did you know that household bleach can be used as a disinfectant? Dilute your non-scented bleach -- 9 parts water to 1 part bleach -- and use as a disinfectant. Have a medicine dropper packed for this situation. Sixteen drops of water to one drop bleach can be used to treat water.
If you have children, then you may want to also have books, games, coloring utensils, and paper – these too would need to be placed in water-proof containers.
Your government; your hospitals, your first responders go to great lengths to be prepared for all disasters and emergencies. Westfield Hospital just completed decontamination drills, Emergency Preparedness training, and evacuation drills. Now it is your turn. It is National Emergency Preparedness Month. Are you prepared?
Remembering Sept. 11 - we must never forget!