National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and held in September of each year. With the rise in national disasters and the national disaster that occurred in our region a few years ago, it is pertinent that we know how to adequately prepare and respond in case of an emergency.
When preparing for a natural disaster, the simplest way to prepare is by ensuring you have a Basic Disaster Supply Kit at your home or workplace. Some supplies that should be include in this kit include (but are not limited to):
Food (enough non-perishable food for several days) & water (one gallon, per person, per day for several days)
Battery powered or hand-cranked radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with alert tone
Flashlight with back up batteries
Plastic sheeting and duct tape (for a chemical SIP emergency)
Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
Cell phone with chargers and back up battery
Fire extinguisher (optional)
Blanket for each person (optional)
Another critical way to prepare for an emergency is by maintaining an Emergency Action Plan. An Emergency Action Plan can be maintained for your home or your workplace and is of the utmost importance when it comes to responding to an emergency. Emergency Action Plans for a workplace should include, the following, at minimum per OSHA 29 CFR 1910.38:
Procedures for reporting a fire or emergency
Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments
Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.
Lastly, when you face a natural or man-made emergency, try to remain informed through radio, TV, or the internet. In cases where you are unable to access the TV or Internet due to service outages or power loss, it is pertinent that you conserve all batteries and maintain a battery powered or hand crank radio to ensure that you remain informed.
It is critically important that everyone knows exactly what to do in an emergency situation and that they can handle it in a safe manner. Emergency preparedness something to take very seriously as it has the potential to be the difference between life and death. Stay aware, stay safe, and stay alive.
NTAS. (n.d.). Basic Disaster Supplies Kit. Ready.gov. https://www.ready.gov/kit
NSC. (n.d.). Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready for a Disaster? NSC.org. https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/emergency-preparedness/emergency-preparedness-home
OSHA. (n.d.). OSHA 1910.38. OSHA.gov. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.38