September is National Preparedness Month: Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.

Guest post by Barbara B. Citarella MS, RN, President and CEO, RBC Limited

Sept 18 2015 - guest bloggerFor the last twelve years, September has been designated as National Preparedness Month. The theme for this year is: Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.

All too often we get involved in the day-to-day things and don’t think about the possibility of a disaster until we experience it. But the truth is that we ALL will encounter some type of disaster in our lifetime. This year’s theme reminds us of the importance to be prepared by following some very simple words – BE INFORMED, MAKE A PLAN, BUILD A KIT! The importance of making a plan for your family, including your pets, has been demonstrated time and again, from the September 11th Attack to Hurricane Sandy.

Be Informed – Identify what you and your family will do before, during, and after a disaster. Identify the potential emergencies in your community and geographic area but, and this is very important, be prepared to handle any type of emergency. This is commonly
referred to as “all hazards” planning, and is the recommended approach. You and your family (or you and your colleagues) should be prepared to:

  • Find shelter
  • Evacuate if necessary
  • Establish communication

Make A Plan – Discuss with everyone in your office and/or household how you would evacuate, where would you go, and how would you communicate with people when they are scattered about doing the routine business of the day. And don’t forget to include in the plan what you would do to ensure the safety of your pets that are left at home. When making a plan include:

  • Entire household
  • Dietary needs
  • People with special needs
  • Language and cultural issues
  • Functional needs and adaptive equipment

Build a Kit – You should always have a basic emergency supply kit on hand at all times and maintain it. Maintenance includes adding and removing items as your family changes, and replenishing those outdated supplies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests keeping a three-day supply of food and water. RBC Limited suggests keeping at least a 7-day supply if it is possible. When the critical infrastructure is disrupted, such as electricity, it may take some time before everything is up and running. Even if you have a generator, there may not be fuel available. The FEMA website has a complete list of the important items you should include in your kit. At a minimum, you should include the following:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • All prescription medications
  • Whistle
  • Manual can opener
  • Extra cell phone chargers or special battery packs that fit devices

september is national preparedness monthDon’t forget to participate in America’s PrepareAthon Day! September 30th is the national day of action. Join the grassroots campaign to increase awareness and preparedness for you and your community.

Below please find links to additional information and resources:

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