Tropical Storm Irene a stark reminder of the importance of being ready for disasters
As the one year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene passes, now is a good time to consider whether or not you are ready for Vermont’s next disaster. To that end, Governor Peter Shumlin has declared September to be Preparedness Month in the state of Vermont.
Disasters can and do happen at any time in Vermont, and we see it all; snow storms, floods, droughts, chemical spills, and others. You can’t always avoid them, but being prepared can help mitigate the effects of these events on you, your family, or your business. September is Preparedness Month in Vermont and also nationwide. It’s an effort to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, and schools.
The most important part of preparedness is taking the first steps to help you and your loved ones ride out the next disaster.
Assemble a kit of emergency supplies that will allow you and your family to survive for at least three days in the event of an emergency. The kit should include basic items like water, food, battery-powered radio, flashlight, over the counter fever and pain relievers, and a first aid kit. A complete list can be found in the Vermont Emergency Management Family Disaster Preparedness Workbook. You can download a copy vem.vermont.gov, or get a hard copy by calling VEM at (800) 347-0488.
Plan in advance what you and your family will do in an emergency. This should include a communications plan through an out-of-state relative, an evacuation route, and the location of emergency shelters in your community.
Learn more about different threats that could affect your community and appropriate responses to them. Look into flood insurance if you are in a flood-prone area (www.floodsmart.gov).
Learn the different weather terms used when advising of adverse conditions (www.weather.gov):
Advisory: Adverse weather conditions are expected
Watch: Severe weather is possible in the next day or two
Warning: Severe weather conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
After preparing yourself and your family for possible emergencies, take the next step: get training in first aid and emergency response and get involved in preparing your community by volunteering for a local emergency response agency or your local CERT (http://vem.vermont.gov/programs/cert).
Vermont Emergency Management distributes its Emergency Preparedness workbooks to anyone who wants one. Communities wishing to give out copies at municipal offices or events can get multiple prints by contacting VEM at 800-347-0488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Preparedness Month and for more preparedness tips, go to vem.vermont.gov or www.ready.gov.