September is National Preparedness Month, which is the perfect time to start thinking about if you are prepared. Would you be ready for an emergency or a disaster? Do you have extra food, water, and other plans in place? It can be overwhelming to think about what you need to put together in case of anemergency or a disaster! There are many reasons why people are not prepared; they don’t know where to start so they never start at all, they don’t think it will happen to them, and finally they think it is to expensive. Do 1 Thing was created to break down these barriers and show how you can be prepared. Our nationally award winning web based non-profit www.do1thing.com was developed as a fresh approach to citizen preparedness. Our mission is to move individuals, families, businesses and communities to prepare for all hazards and become disaster resilient. We break the intimidating task of preparedness into small, manageable steps that you can do every month. Just choose one of the three things to become better prepared. By following the program for a year, you can become much better prepared for most disasters or emergencies. Each month I will share with you a new topic to discuss and tell you how and what you can do. The best part in my opinion of Do 1 Thing is that it can be implemented by anyone anywhere to help his or her community becomes well prepared.
This month at Do 1 Thing is Be Informed. The goal is to make sure everyone in your household can receive, understand, and act on information received in an emergency. Getting correct information during an emergency is the key to taking safe action. Someone in your home may not be able to receive, understand, or act on emergency information. Think about what special needs your family members may have. Take action now to make sure everyone in your family will be safe in an emergency.
Things to consider…
- Emergency news or weather broadcasts may not be closed-captioned.
- Information that is shown on screen may not be spoken aloud.
- Automated voices and voices over loud speakers may be hard to understand.
- Information comes quickly and the stress of a disaster may make it hard to understand or remember instructions.
- Words moving across the bottom of a television screen may move very quickly.
- The screen color or color of the text might make some information on television hard to read.
Thing to do (choose one):
- Make sure everyone in your family knows what to when they hear emergency warnings.
Your community may have outdoor warning sirens (also called tornado sirens) to warn you in an emergency. These sirens are meant to let people who are outside know they should go indoors. When you hear the outdoors warning sirens sound in your area it is not safe for you to be outdoors. You should take cover inside a sturdy building and get more information from television, radio, Internet, or by contacting a friend or family member.
Call your local fire department to find out if warning sirens cover your area, when they are tested, and when they would be activated. Make sure other members of your household know what to do when outdoor warning sirens sound.
Some communities have other ways of warning residents. They may call by phone, or send text messages or emails with emergency information. Check with your local emergency management or sheriff’s office to find out what other warning systems are used in your area. Talk to family members about what to do when emergency information is given.
- Purchase a NOAA Emergency Alert Radio
Weather can change very quickly. Severe weather may strike when people are sleeping or unaware of the forecast. This can be deadly if people do not seek a safe shelter. A NOAA emergency alert radio (sometimes called a weather radio) can turn itself on when an emergency alert is issued and warn you at any time – day or night.
Emergency alert radios can also be used to warn about other emergencies, such as a chemical spill. With the Emergency Alert Radio, you will be warned about dangerous situations in time to take shelter or other safe action.
Every home should have an emergency alert radio, just the way all homes should have a smoke detector. They can be purchased at stores that sell electronics. Prices start at about $20.00. Most run on batteries or have battery back up.
- Make sure everyone in your family can communicate in a disaster.
The way emergency information is sent out in your community may not work for everyone. If you don’t speak English well, or if you use an assistive device to speak or hear, make a plan now. Make sure you can get and give information in a disaster.
Communities may give information by television or radio, by automated phone call, text messages, email, or by sounding outdoor warning sirens. Police or fire may use loudspeakers to give information as they drive through the streets. Responders or volunteers may go door-to-door to talk to people directly.
If you think you may not be able to understand emergency information, identify someone (or more than one person) that you can contact for help in an emergency. Have more than one way to get in touch with them. Keep their contact information with you.