September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Since its inception in 2004, National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, places of work and their communities.  FEMA’s “Ready Campaign” provides information to help the general public prepare for, and respond to, emergencies such as natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

Salida and the Upper Arkansas Valley is a wonderful place to live and play.  Fortunately, we are not subject to many of the natural disasters that we often see on TV.  With that being said, we are, and will continue to be, subject to drought and wildfire which are currently our biggest threats. Other potential threats are severe winter storms, mud/rock slides, and flash flooding.  Not every natural disaster can be predicted; therefore we should take steps to be prepared.

At times during a disaster, local officials and relief workers cannot reach everyone immediately.  Help may not arrive for hours or days.  You and your family need to be prepared ahead of time because there is a strong likelihood you won’t have time to shop or search for the supplies you might need.  Often, supplies are unavailable once disaster strikes.  As of 2009, the Citizen Corps National Survey revealed that only 57% of Americans surveyed report having supplies set aside in their home just for disasters, and only 44% have a household emergency plan.

Disasters can occur suddenly without warning.  They can be frightening for adults, but they are traumatic for children if they don’t know what to do when these events occur.  Children depend on daily routines.  When an emergency disturbs their routine, children can become nervous.  In an emergency, they’ll look to the parent or other adults for guidance.  Families should develop an emergency plan.  Practice your plan so that everyone will remember what to do in an emergency.  Everyone in the home, including children, should play a part in the family’s response and recovery efforts.  Make the plan simple so everyone can remember the details.

Families should prepare a basic emergency supplies kit.  This kit should include:  Water (one gallon per person for three days), a three-day supply of non-perishable food, a battery powered radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, moist towelettes, garbage bags, and cell phones with chargers.  For a complete list of emergency supplies as well as other important information, visit http://www.ready.gov

As I mentioned before, wildfire is one of our biggest threats in this valley.  With the recent rains we have experienced, we have had a lot of “green-up”.  Unfortunately, a lot of the “green-up” is noxious weeds.  Once these weeds dry out, they have a significant burn potential that could pose a hazard to your property, as well as your home.  Wildfires don’t just occur in the forest or rural areas.  Please take the time to mitigate hazards around your home.

Be responsible, be prepared!