September is National Preparedness Month

In conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has proclaimed September as Preparedness Month in Fayette County.  Gov. Matt Bevin has declared September as National Preparedness Month for the Commonwealth of Kentucky as well.

Each of us face threats to our safety and property throughout the year; from tornadoes, flooding, straight line winds, lightning, winter storms, power outages and man-made hazards, to daily emergencies. Every household and business should be prepared to face these challenges at any given time. Disasters can occur anywhere and at any time, in the Bluegrass.

As we have all seen recently with tornadoes, windstorms and power outages, preparedness can make the difference between an inconvenience and a real disaster. Supplies such as water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, radios and first aid kits are easy to store, and can be lifesavers when a crisis hits. A communication plan with family, friends and neighbors is also very important.

“Being prepared for emergencies doesn’t take much time and makes a real difference when disasters do happen,” said Patricia Dugger, Director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management. “Being aware, making an emergency plan, building an emergency kit and taking a first aid class makes Lexington a more resilient community and one that can handle disasters big and small.”

Here’s how you can be better prepared for emergencies:

· Stay informed about risks in your communities and monitor weather forecasts.
· Own and monitor a battery backed-up or crank-type NOAA Weather Alert Radio. During threatening weather, stay tuned to your local broadcast stations.
· Discuss conditions with family members and know their locations during dangerous weather.
· Discuss known risks with family members and neighbors.
· Keep written contact information for relatives, neighbors, utility companies, employers/employees and local emergency contact telephone numbers.
· Develop and review your emergency plan periodically and update as necessary.
· Assemble an emergency kit(s) and refresh periodically. A kit should have enough food, water and medications for each family member for three to five days.
· Practice your plan with household members.
· Move vehicles away from under trees during possible wind events.
· Keep an emergency kit in all vehicles.
· Have at least a 3 day supply of food and water for each pet in your household.  Have carriers, a collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash; familiar items such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.

Make an emergency kit for your home and your workplace. Include these items:

· First aid kit and essential medications (to include prescription medicines).
· Canned food and can opener.
· At least one gallon of water per person per day. Don’t forget water for pets.
· Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags
· Battery or crank powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries or crank recharging stations that are capable of recharging cell phones, tablets, etc.
· Waterproof matches and candles.
· Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
· Extra set of car keys
· Cash in small bills – $1 and $5 are best.

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American Red Cross volunteer at CSEEP exercise