September is recognized each year as National Preparedness Month to promote disaster planning and serve as a reminder to prepare now and every day of the year. This year, National Preparedness Month is accompanied by wildfires to our west and COVID-19 around us. These events serve as a reminder that disaster planning is important in every household, no matter where you live.
Here are four steps you can take to start preparing today:
- Make a plan. Discuss with your friends, family, and household members about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Your plan should include details like how you will receive emergency alerts, shelter and evacuation, and specific needs in your household such as medical needs, pets, and ages of household members.
- Build a kit. After a disaster, you may not be able to access supplies right away. Gather enough supplies to last your household for several days. Find a list of basic supplies to include in your kit, and additional supplies recommended during COVID-19, here.
- Be informed. Know the risk of disasters in your area. Some of our main threats in Washburn County include flooding, severe weather, winter storms, and forest fires. Check your home’s insurance coverage. Have multiple ways to receive local warnings or alerts.
- Teach youth about preparedness. If you have children or care for children, talk to them about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Help them be involved in the planning and preparedness process so that they feel more comfortable if a disaster happens.
Be sure to include COVID-19 in your preparedness planning. You should plan to have face masks and hand sanitizer in your kits and consider physical distancing recommendations when reviewing evacuation and shelter plans.
CodeRED Emergency Alerts
Washburn County residents are strongly encouraged to enroll in Washburn County’s CodeRED emergency alert system. CodeRED is a rapid alert system that will send emergency messages to all enrolled contacts. You are encouraged to include contact information for home, business, and mobile phones so that you get alerts no matter where you are. Information submitted to CodeRED is stored on a secure, confidential server. Find more information and registration instructions here.
More information about how to prepare for disasters can be found at https://www.ready.gov/. Questions can be emailed to email@example.com or by phone to Carol Buck, Washburn County Emergency Management Director, at 715-468-4715.