September is National Preparedness Month


Stokes County Health Department Urges Residents to Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed, and Get Involved.

September is designated as National Preparedness Month and Stokes County Health Department urges residents of Stokes County to prepare their families, businesses, and communities for any type of natural or man-made emergency. The more prepared you are before disaster strikes, the more equipped you are to recover when they do occur.

Stokes County Health Department advocates community preparedness and invites community members to join us in this effort, since emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere without notice. Households, businesses, and organizations are encouraged to prepare in the event of an emergency, to be self-reliant for at least three days without utilities, electricity, water, without access to a supermarket, or local services.

Preparing can start with four important steps:

Step 1: Make a Plan

It is important that residents with specific needs, youth and children, disabilities, access and functional needs, older adults, businesses, pets, or mental/physical needs, and their family members make plans to protect themselves in the event of disasters. Evaluate your specific needs and resources, and make plans to cover those needs in an emergency. Once you have created your plan, discuss and practice your plan routinely with other household members or staff.

Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency

Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.

It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.

You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, child care and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.

Plan to Evacuate o Identify ahead of time where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.

Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend’s home in another town, a motel or public shelter.

If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating. o If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate.

Take your Emergency Supply Kit.

Take your pets with you, and know ahead of time if the hotel/motel or shelter you plan to stay in will accept pets. Bring a carrier, food and water, and your pet’s vaccination record.

Step 2: Build a Kit

Having a kit in place will help you during the emergency and make the recovery process easier. Each person may have a specific kit depending on their needs, such as pets, infants, or older adults.

Build a Kit to include:

3-7 days of non-perishable food and bottled water o Wind-up or battery-operated radio and flashlight o Extra batteries and cell phone charger

Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows o A first aid kit and hygiene items o Pet and infant supplies

Copies of prescription medications and medical supplies

Copies of important documents: driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records or vaccination records.

Make sure you have a “to-go bag” ready in case you need to evacuate, including:

Wind-up or battery-operated radio and flashlight o Extra batteries and cell phone charger o First aid kit

Maps and cash

Important documents such as proof of residence, pictures of your family including pets, insurance policies, and tax records

Comfortable clothing and blankets

Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other unique need your family may have

Step 3: Be Informed

Before a disaster, learn how you will know there is an impending hazardous event. Familiarize yourself with the signs of events that come without warning and learn how to receive advance alerts and warnings for predictable hazards like tornados. Knowing about local emergency plans for shelters, evacuation, and local emergency contacts will help you develop your household plan and will also aid you during a crisis. Use the resources on websites like www. ReadyNC.org or www.co.stokes.nc.us/disaster1/ for disaster topics and plan templates for home, work, or school.

Step 4: Get Involved

Get Involved before disaster strikes! Here are a few ways you can help:

Volunteer to support disaster efforts in your community. Get trained and volunteer with Program or Affiliate organizations.

Be part of the community planning process. Connect and collaborate with your local emergency planning group or local emergency management agency.

Join or start a preparedness project. Find an event or identify local resources, build a team, choose a project, set goals and improve preparedness with your friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

The information above is a just a sample of what residents can do to prepare. More information about preparedness can be found at the following websites:

· http://www.co.stokes.nc.us/disaster1/

· http://www.co.stokes.nc.us/em/em.htm

· http://www.co.stokes.nc.us/public/

· http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/phpr/

· https://www.nccrimecontrol.org/index2.cfm?a=000003,000010

· www.readync.org

· www.ready.gov

· www.bt.cdc.gov

· www.redcross.org

· www.preparemybusiness.org

Increase community preparedness and join the effort to help our community prepare for any type of natural or man-made disaster or emergency. For more information, visit

http://www.ready.gov/ or http://www.co.stokes.nc.us/disaster1/ or call Stokes County Health Department at (336) 593-2400 for questions.

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