Why is preparedness important?
Fires, water main breaks, and power outages are all possible interruptions to your regular schedule which many only impact you or your neighborhood. Floods, tornadoes, winter storms, and heat waves are natural disasters which can impact a much larger population for an extended period of time. All who live and work in Douglas County are subject to these and other man-made and disease-related emergencies which can happen with little notice and can change the course of your day or year. Taking steps to be prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany emergencies.
What is your role in an emergency or disaster?
Emergency Services and government agencies may not be able to respond to your needs immediately. Their buildings, equipment, communications, mobility, and personnel, may be severely hampered by the emergency or disaster event or they may need to focus efforts elsewhere. Local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to take steps to ready yourself and your family for the emergency. Everyone needs to be prepared to survive on your own for a minimum of 3 days, and in some cases you may need to be able to stay home for 10 days.
While we cannot control natural disasters, emergencies, or unexpected events, we can be prepared, and we can protect ourselves and our families. Taking time to plan and prepare will help you and your family lessen the impact an emergency has on you. The most important concept in developing a Family Emergency Preparedness Plan is communication. Every member of the family needs to be involved so that when disaster strikes, everyone will know what to do, and how to keep in touch. How well you manage the aftermath of a disaster depends a great deal on how well you prepare today—before the disaster strikes!
Here are steps you can take to prepare yourself and your family:
- Though not the most fun task, identify the hazards or risks you may face. Tornadoes, power outages, house fire, etc.
- Identify what steps you can take to minimize the negative impacts from those hazards or risks.
- Identifying a severe weather shelter, washing your hands or staying home when sick, installing and checking smoke detectors, etc.
- Create an Emergency Plan to include
- Multiple ways to get emergency alerts
- How you will communicate with friends/family - where you are and that you are safe
- Where you will take shelter during severe weather
- What routes you can take to leave your neighborhood if you need to evacuate
- Build an emergency kit
- These are basic supplies (many of which you likely have around the house) to have ready for any emergency. This kit/bag/container can lessen the stress of an emergency.
- Consider your personal needs - glasses/contacts, medications, etc.
- Don't forget your pets!
How can I learn more?
Douglas County Emergency Management offers a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) weekend course, typically twice a year. The CERT training is designed to help you help others in the first seventy-two (72) hours of an event. By taking the CERT class, you will gain knowledge and skills to prepare yourself for emergencies and may be able to provide basic emergency response assistance in a disaster to family members, co-workers or neighbors. Read more or register here.