Emergency plans pay off even in extremem disasters

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Few people imagined the possibility of an attack like that which occurred on September 11, 2001, and as we watched those events unfold, none of us could imagine the collapse of the buildings and the events that have transpired in the seven years since.

Still, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani handled his role well, helping to reassure his city and the country at a time when they needed it most.

Some of that was certainly his personal strength -- character that propelled him along an unsuccessful run for the White House.

But some of Giuliani's performance that sunny fall day was a simple example of "practice makes perfect." Much of his speech, including the memorable "one death is too many" phrase, was from a script prepared far in advance by emergency planners and practiced by city personnel not long before the terrorist attacks.

It's a good example of how a little preparation can make a big difference when the unexpected happens, even an event as massive as the one that occurred in New York City.

We're thankful that most of us will never have to face something like that, but we never know.

In our region, we're more likely to face flood or blizzard, but regardless the danger, preparing in advance pays off.

That's why President Bush has proclaimed September as "National Preparedness Month" across the United States, urging all Americans to make plans to keep themselves and their families better safe in an emergency.

People like the Region 15 Emergency Management Agency are helping implement the plan, which includes four simple steps:

* Get a kit. Make up a kit of emergency supplies so that you and your family could survive for up to three days in the event of an emergency.

* Make a plan. Plan as a family in advance on what to do in the event of an emergency.

* Be informed. Familiarize yourself and family of threats that could affect you in some way.

* Get involved. Take a first aid or CPR class, or volunteer in a Community Emergency Response Team.

"This is a great way for families to network with each other and form a plan that works for everyone," said Pat Gerdes, director of the Region 15 Emergency Management Agency.

By working together as a family on the plan, communication problems that occur during a real life ordeal may be prevented.

There are many useful tools available through your local Emergency Management Agency, Public Health Department or on the Internet, Gerdes added. Check out www.phelpsgov.org/gov/emergency or www.ready.gov

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  • The site: www.ready.gov is a good site. Here is the list they offer, but go there to learn more:

    Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

    * Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

    * Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

    * Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

    * Flashlight and extra batteries

    * First aid kit

    * Whistle to signal for help

    * Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

    * Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

    * Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

    * Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

    * Local maps

    Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

    * Prescription medications and glasses

    * Infant formula and diapers

    * Pet food and extra water for your pet

    * Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

    * Cash or traveler's checks and change

    * Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov

    * Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.

    * Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

    * Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper -- When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

    * Fire Extinguisher

    * Matches in a waterproof container

    * Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

    * Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels

    * Paper and pencil

    * Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

    The above list is good for natural disasters, and short term interruption of supplies. International hostilities (war) would require a much greater stockpile of goods, especially water, food, and medical supplies.

    Keep the watch, in Christ. Arley Steinhour

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Thu, Sep 11, 2008, at 3:37 PM
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