Disasters and emergencies can happen at any moment, are you ready?

GRAFTON—It seems fitting that with all the recent hurricanes and wildfires, that September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), a movement spearheaded by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA works to educate and empower Americans to take a few simple steps that will help them prepare for emergencies including natural disasters and terrorist attacks, through their Ready Campaign.

When it comes to natural disasters or terrorist attacks, there’s very little telling how hard an area will be impacted, until the event strikes, but officials are urging individuals to arm themselves with one key tool—preparation.

This month, citizens are asked to focus on planning, and this year’s theme of “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can,” encompasses that.

The goal of NPM is simply to increase the number of individuals, families and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, school and place of worship, according to www.ready.gov.

The website states that individuals are able to help first responders in their community by training in how to respond during an emergency, as well as what to do when disasters strike.

FEMA believes that there are three simple things that can be done, that will greatly affect the outcome of your wellbeing during an emergency, including purchasing or making an emergency supply kit, establishing a family plan and informing yourself of the types of emergencies that could happen.

It is suggested that all Americans arm themselves and their families with emergency supply kits, which include enough supplies to last for three days, should a disaster strike.

“Emergency supply kits are a wonderful thing to have on hand, should an emergency strike,” shared Grafton Fire Chief Dave Crimm. “Often during these situations, people become stressed, and these kits take a little bit of that stress away.”

Making a supply kit is simple, easy and affordable. Supplies needed include water, one gallon per person per day, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, batteries, battery powered or hand crank radios, flashlights, a whistle to signal for help, moist towelettes, garbage bags, local maps and a cell phone with chargers.

“Most people know to have a food and water supply, batteries and flashlights, but I’d also recommend having sleeping bags or blankets on hand, as well,” noted Grafton Police Chief Robert Beltner.

Additional supplies could include medications, both prescribed and over the counter, glasses or contacts and contact solution, infant needs, pet food, important family documents, clothes, fire extinguishers, matches and feminine hygiene supplies.

FEMA also suggests keeping games, books, puzzles and other activities in the kit to help occupy children during an emergency.

“Kids, especially younger ones, don’t always understand what’s happening during these times, and won’t understand that they can’t be outside playing or using electronics. Having activities for them to focus on helps them pass the time,” expressed Crimm.

When building your kit, make sure to secure all items in a dry, waterproof container.

Each year, FEMA’s Ready Campaign is broken down into week-long exercises, and week one focused on the importance of creating a family plan, which is carried out during an emergency.

“Emergencies can occur at anytime, and your family might not be together when they occur,” explained Beltner. “It is a very good idea to establish a plan to figure out how and where your family members will meet up.”

Week two, which begins this week, centers on creating a plan to help neighbors and the community.

“Let’s be honest, disasters affect us all,” confessed Crimm. “When people pitch in to help their neighbors and community following a disaster, things get done quicker and more efficiently.”

We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect,” and during week three, September 17-23, FEMA wants citizens to put that to the test. During the week, individuals are asked to practice and build out their plans.

“All the preparation in the world is good in theory, but it only works when citizens know how to utilize and carry out the plans they have made,” reported Crimm.

FEMA urges individuals to get involved with organizations and local teams that are set up to help during a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

“In emergency situations, it’s best to be prepared, have a kit and stay informed,” imparted Beltner.

For more tips and tricks to make a stressful emergency run just a little smoother, be sure to log onto FEMA’s Ready website at www.ready.gov.