National Preparedness Month
The West Virginia State Health Officer, Dr. Rahul Gupta, who also serves as the Commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, reminds us that September is National Preparedness Month. He says that this month is a “good time for the public to engage in personal preparedness planning and develop or revise their family emergency plan.”
Dr. Gupta details more about what National Preparedness month is all about.
“The idea behind it is to be able to have a plan in place that if there was an emergency to happen, as we’ve seen the floods and a number of other disasters happen in our state, how are we going to approach it as a family so the kids know where to go, the adults know where to go, who to call and a number of other things that are needed?” said Dr. Gupta. But what we find is that these things don’t happen in a vacuum. It’s important to have a plan that all the members of the family know what to do when an emergency strikes.”
Dr. Gupta lets us know a good area in which to begin this planning.
“To start, think of what if something’s happened and I’m not with my family?” said Dr. Gupta. “So have a paper copy of contact information for your family and other important people, offices, medical facilities, doctors, schools, service providers. It is also important to share that with all members so we can reach each other.”
Once you get started with the list, Dr. Gupta explains what to do next
“On top of that, it is important to not only discuss your plan with your family members, including children, but also practice that and make that a fun activity” Dr. Gupta says. “And get signed up with your local alerts, whether it’s a school, workplace or local government so people can text you and let you know what’s going on. It is also important to know the address and phone numbers and emails of all the relatives or everyone in your household that you think you can get in contact with. It’s important to also know that sometimes when local disasters happen, the local phone lines get jammed up. So If) you have a relative that’s out of state, or friend, it’s important to have that number also. Sometimes it’s easier to call out of state or long distance than it is locally in times of disaster.”
By the way, you can sign up locally here in Pocahontas County for disaster text alerts by going to the website http://www.pocahontasemergency.com/.
There are things in addition to contacts to include in your list.
“In the list that you have, also think about your medications, your supplies, some of those critical things that somebody can help you with if you have a list and you lose those medications” added Dr. Gupta.
A prepared family needs to make other plans too.
“If you have pets for example, make sure you know where those pet friendly shelters are, or if you have a service animal for that matter” said Dr. Gupta. “If you have a disability, where are those areas that are assessable for your household members with disabilities? Those are the kinds of things that each family and individual needs to think out for themselves – plan out, act out and practice with your family members. And this month is really dedicated to that kind of action planning for families across our state.”
For more information about preparing your family for disasters, you can go to the WV Bureau of public Health website at www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph (Bureau of public health) or to the federal website –www.ready.gov. which is a Department of Homeland Security Website. There you will find a wealth of knowledge and suggestions to prepare your family or business for both manmade and natural disasters. There are sample home emergency plans that you can use to as samples to design your own plan as well as lists of items you should keep on hand as part of a home preparedness kit.