From tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes to a gas or chemical leak, it is important to be ready for any crisis. Planning is key, and September is the perfect time during National Preparedness Month. St. Charles County Regional Emergency Management (REM) has three essential tips for you to keep in mind.
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1. Set up multiple methods to receive emergency alerts and information.
“Outdoor warning sirens are not designed to be heard indoors,” Captain Chris Hunt, Director of REM, explains. “Sirens are activated for the entire county regardless of where a tornado or other specific threat is located. A NOAA Weather Radio and news broadcasts, as well as Wireless Emergency Alerts sent to your cell phone, provide essential information to help your family take appropriate, emergency action.”
Learn more about outdoor warning sirens in St. Charles County.
2. Prepare at least a three-day supply of food, water, medicine, and other essential daily items in a disaster supply kit.
“In the event of a large-scale disaster, it could take hours or even days for electricity to be restored and for first responders to provide assistance to your family,” says Jani Albright, Assistant Director of REM. “Put a kit together and assess it on a regular basis to check expiration dates and replace materials. Store important documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and an inventory of big-ticket items with serial numbers in a safe or digitally in password-protected cloud storage.”
List of disaster supply kit materials to include.
3. Create a family emergency and communications plan—and practice it.
“Discuss and practice with your family what to do, where to meet, and who to contact during a variety of emergencies,” Captain Hunt says. “Educate your family on how to respond to various threats in various environments and make sure everyone is familiar with the disaster supply kit. Children and teens especially need to understand what steps to take if they are home alone during a crisis.”
Other important items to discuss:
- Identify a shelter location in your home during a storm and keep your disaster supply kit there, along with sturdy shoes.
- Plan for escape and evacuation routes, as well as how to care for family pets in the event an emergency shelter is not be able to accommodate them.
- Know where all utility shutoffs are in your home, or how to get in touch with apartment maintenance or your landlord during an emergency.
- Make certain all family members understand that text messages may get through easier than calls when cellular systems are overwhelmed.
Additional preparedness planning tips.