Catawba County News
Emergency Preparedness Month
Published: September 11, 2023
Be prepared for every day that ends in “Y”!
September is Emergency Preparedness Month and September 15th is the mid-point for the Atlantic Hurricane Season. It’s important that we think about Emergency Preparedness 365 days a year. That might seem like a tall order, but it isn’t as hard as you may think. Many steps we take for personal or family safety become so routine, that we often do it without giving it much thought. Do you put on your seatbelt when you get into a car? Do you check the weather to decide how to dress today? If you travel, are there family members that you contact to inform when you are leaving or arriving? If so, you already know to be prepared for a wide array of disasters and emergencies. Just like wearing a seatbelt has become routine, if we find ways to incorporate disaster or emergency planning into our daily, weekly and monthly routines, it will become routine as well.
STAY INFORMED. We check the weather to determine if a coat or umbrella is needed, but do you look at the long range predictions to see what other weather may be coming your way? Rely on local weather reports for area specific concerns. Download a weather app on your phone, the FEMA App and sign up for local Catawba County Community Alerts. Have a backup plan like a battery powered radio with weather alerts.
Have a FAMILY COMMUNICATIONS PLAN. During disasters, cell phone systems can go down or be overwhelmed in the affected area. You and your family may be at different locations when it happens, so have a plan that each member knows. Most people don’t have phone numbers memorized so, what do you do if your battery dies or your phone gets damaged? Have a printed copy of phone numbers for important contacts and laminate it to be waterproof. Even if phone systems in the affected area go down, did you know that you may be able to call or text someone outside the disaster area even if you can’t call someone just down the street? Have family a member or friend, who lives in another state, as a central contact. That person can keep everyone informed. Text messaging does not use as much bandwidth as calls do, so they often will go through when calls fail. Don’t forget to program an “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contact in your phone with the person you would want emergency responders to call. Remember this number needs to still be accessible even if the screen is locked. Use this guide to help make your plan.
Build an EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT. Disasters and emergencies can come in all shapes and sizes, but having a Basic Disaster Kit is one of the easiest ways to be prepared to survive whatever may come. Have at least a 3-day supply of food and water for your family and pets. Inventory your kit at least twice a year and rotate items that have expirations with newer ones. Use this guide to help build your kit. The emergency supply kit can be used if you stay in your home or can be taken with you if you have to evacuate. In case you have to evacuate, have a plan on where you will go. It is preferable that you stay with family or friends, because hotels could fill with other evacuees and a shelter should only be a last resort.
Include your entire family in your emergency planning process. It can even be a fun learning activity for kids. Download the Prepare with Pedro Disaster Preparedness Activity Book to see how he takes action during an emergency to stay safe.