by Danaila Paspalanova
In an effort to strengthen the respond to man-made and natural disasters at the community level, on June 16th the National Safety Council launched its Emergency Preparedness Week as part of National Safety Month, an annual observance to educate and encourage safe behaviors around top causes of preventable injuries and deaths.
In the mid-morning hours of Monday, July 1, a tornado touched down in the small town of Berkeley Hts., NJ. There were no injuries, but plenty of damage to residential and commercial property. This only goes to show that disasters can happen anytime and anywhere, proving that Emergency Preparedness is not only for earthquakes in California, for those who live in "Tornado Alley", or for Gulf Coast residents who must plan for annual hurricanes. Most communities will be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime. The National Safety Council stresses that families should have a plan in case of such an emergency. We would like to add that business should also have a plan to help protect employees and the community since disasters do not only strike after work hours.
Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Throughout the Emergency Preparedness Week, the National Safety Council posted helpful information on planning for emergencies of all types and it is still available on their website.
When planning for a potential emergency, the basics of survival are important—Disaster Supplies Kits also need to be available. A basic emergency supply kit should include the following recommended items:
- Water: one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, plus extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and 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 and hand sanitizer
- Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
If you are a pet owner, consideration should be given for their care. Having your pet micro-chipped or registered with Home Again will help locate lost pets.