September is National Preparedness Month

        During National Preparedness Month in September, local emergency management officials are encouraging residents and businesses to review and discuss their emergency plans and update their emergency supply kits.

        Advance preparation is the key, says Forsyth County Emergency Management Director August Vernon.“Being prepared begins with having an emergency plan and several days of supplies,” Vernon said. “Whether it is a man-made emergency or weather event, we don’t always know what’s going to happen. It’s important to remember that you and your family may need to respond quickly in an emergency and preparedness is the key to having that flexibility.”

        Residents and businesses should assemble emergency supply kits, then make and rehearse plans for where to go and what to do if a disaster strikes. The plan should include details about where to meet, how to get in touch with one another, evacuation plans, what to do with pets and how to notify employers/employees after an emergency.

        “As part of your plan, if you must evacuate, include staying with family, friends or at a hotel. A shelter should be a plan of last resort,” Vernon said.

        Emergency kits should have items needed for survival regardless of the emergency, including a manual can opener and enough non-perishable food and a gallon of water per person per day to last three to seven days. Other essential items include:

·         Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, masks, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes or gel

·         Weather radio and extra batteries

·         Cell phone with power pack charger

·         First-aid kit and book

·         Flashlight and extra batteries

·         Wrench or pliers to turn off water

·         Sleeping bag or blanket, one per person

·         Prescription medicines, glasses and hearing aids

·         Changes of clothes and sturdy shoes

·         Extra house and car keys

·         Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag

·         Fire extinguisher

·         Cash and change

        More information on overall emergency preparedness can be found online at ReadyForsyth.org or ReadyNC.org. To receive the most recently updated information, “like” ReadyForsyth on Facebook or “follow” ReadyForsyth on Twitter.

~Tim Clodfelter, WTOB