This September, ‘Pledge to Prepare” for emergencies
Gov. McDonnell recognizes September as National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month, an annual nationwide effort to encourage Americans to plan and prepare for emergencies.
“Unfortunately, within the past 14 months, just about every Virginian has experienced tornados, the historic Mineral earthquake, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee or the recent severe derecho wind storm,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator of emergency management. “These are all powerful reminders that each of us is responsible to be ready for both predicted and unexpected emergencies. If you are not ready, you can pledge to prepare during September.”
Families and individuals should plan as though they must go for at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or other local services. To prepare, follow these four steps:
- Stay informed. Get free information on what to do before, during and after emergencies at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and www.ListoVirginia.gov. Stay aware of changing weather conditions by monitoring local media reports. Get a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio with a weather band so you can hear emergency information when the power is out.
- Make a plan. Discuss, agree on and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see www.ReadyVirginia.gov and www.Ready.gov.
- Build a Kit. Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care. Start with non-perishable food and water, and then add first aid, prescriptions, flashlights and batteries. Remember supplies for children, those with special needs and pets.
- Get Involved: Before a disaster happens, the whole community can get involved in programs and activities to make families, homes and businesses safer from risks and threats. Check with local emergency managers, first responder agencies and volunteer organizations for training opportunities.
“In any large emergency, police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly, such as if trees and power lines are down. The most important thing you can do to help your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and your family,” said Cline. “The more of us who are prepared, the quicker our community will recover.”
To recognize the significance of National Preparedness Month, Governor Bob McDonnell issued a special proclamation. To view it, go to http://www.governor.virginia.gov/OurCommonwealth/Proclamations/viewproc.cfm?id=166.
Many families and teachers may want to talk with children about emergency preparedness during September. The Ready Kids website focuses on weather-related emergencies and helps educate children ages 8-12 about how they can help their families prepare. In-school materials for teachers also are available at www.ready.gov/kids or by calling 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO and TTY 1-800-462-7587.
To learn more about National Preparedness Month and to join the National Coalition of people and organizations who have pledged to prepare in September, go to www.Ready.gov.