Natural and man-made emergencies can happen at any given moment, some with little or no notice. How prepared are you and your family from emergencies that could impact Stokes county, such as a disease outbreak, flood, tornado, or even a chemical spill? Stokes County residents can take steps now to plan and prepare for these and other disasters.
September is designated as National Preparedness Month, and Stokes County Health Department is encouraging residents, schools, and business owners to create a plan and build an emergency supplies kit. The more prepared you are before disaster strikes, the more equipped you are to recover when they do occur.
It’s easy to get started!
Make a Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so your plan should include details about how you will contact one another, how you will get back together, and evacuation plans. Places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. If you have to evacuate, identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend’s home in another town or a motel or public shelter. If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating. Remember to bring your emergency supplies kit that would also include your unique family needs, such as prescriptions medication or infant supplies. Take your pets with you, and know ahead of time if the motel or shelter you plan to stay will accept pets. Bring a carrier, food and water, and your pet’s vaccination record. Mold your plan to your family’s needs and plan for the risks in your area. Once you have created your plan, discuss and practice your plan routinely with other household members or staff.
Build a Kit. Having a kit in place will help you during the emergency and make the recovery process easier. Most of the items can be found around your house, such as copies of insurance policies that will enable you to quickly process claims and enough non-perishable food and bottled water for 3 to 7 days for you and those in your care. Other basic items could include: battery-powered or hand crank weather radio and flashlight with extra batteries; cell phone charger(s); first aid kit and first aid book; manual can opener for food; bedding/sleeping bags and clothing for everyone in your family; wrench or pliers to cut off water/gas; hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap or feminine supplies; extra house keys and car keys; prescription medications, glasses, or hearing aids; cash and change; important documents such as insurance policies, driver’s license, social security card, proof of residence, bank accounts, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc; other family unique needs such as pet supplies, infant supplies, or any other unique need your family may have.
Stay Informed. Before a disaster, learn how you will know there is a hazardous event, by staying in communication with family, local media outlets, or radio. Follow the advice of local emergency personnel and first responders. Learn and become familiarized with possible hazards in our area, like tornados. Use the resources on websites like ReadyNC.org, Ready.gov, or www.co.stokes.nc.us/disaster1 to help you develop your family emergency plans for home, work, or school.
The information above is a just a sample of what residents can do to prepare. More information about preparedness can also be found at the following websites: www.bt.cdc.gov; www.redcross.org; www.preparemybusiness.org.