This September, National Preparedness Month (NPM) will focus on planning, with an overarching theme “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

We should all take action to prepare! We are all able to help first responders in our community by training how to respond during an emergency and what to do when disaster strikes — where we live, work, and visit. The goal of NPM is to increase the overall number of individuals, families, and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, school, and place of worship.

According to the Ready.gov website, research on preparedness shows that people who believe themselves "prepared" for disasters often aren't as prepared as they think. Forty percent of survey respondents did not have household plans, 80 percent had not conducted home evacuation drills, and nearly 20 percent of survey respondents reported having a disability that would affect their capacity to respond to an emergency situation; but shockingly only one out of four of them had made arrangements specific to their disability to help them respond safely in the event of an emergency.

Our nation's emergency managers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMT/paramedics, and other emergency responders do an incredible job of keeping us safe, but they can't do it alone. We must all embrace our individual responsibility to be prepared. 

Becoming more prepared in case of an emergency is easier than you might think. Whether it's your home, your neighborhood, your place of business, or your school, you can take a few simple steps to prepare your community.

Make A Plan

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area.  Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 5 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan!

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?  
  2. What is my shelter plan?
  3. What is my evacuation route?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household!

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some of these factors when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Locations frequented
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
  • Languages spoken
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals
  • Households with school-aged children

Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan!

Fema.gov has a downloadable family emergency plan for you to fill out or use as a guide to create your own.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household!

Don't Wait. Communicate. Make a family emergency plan today and practice it! 

Don’t forget to register all your family’s cell phone numbers on Washburn County’s emergency notification service called CodeRED at www.co.washburn.wi.us/images/custom/departments/emerg-mgt/what-is-code-red.pdf.  By registering, you will be added to the emergency call list. This service may be used in case of fires, chemical spills, evacuations, lock downs, lost individuals, natural disasters, abductions, bomb threats, or other emergencies.

Learn more at www.ready.gov/September or at Washburn County Emergency Management’s webpage at http://www.co.washburn.wi.us/departments/emergency-management.  


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