By: Valerie Valcour
September is National Emergency Preparedness month. Now is a good time to dust off or create that emergency plan and checklist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers four weeks of activities to help you be prepared.
Week 1: READY… Build a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.
Many emergencies happen without warning, so it is important that you take steps ahead of time to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. One important way you can prepare is by having a kit ready in case you do not have access to food, water, or electricity for several days after a disaster. In addition to building a kit, talk to your loved ones to develop an emergency plan with the steps you all will take in different types of emergencies and how you will contact one another. Finally, stay informed to make sure you get the information you need when an emergency happens.
Week 2: STEADY…Review your plans and update your kit.
Preparing does not stop after you have your kit ready and your emergency plan in place. In a real emergency, you may become overwhelmed or confused, so it is important to practice your emergency plan. Review the plans and hold practice drills with your whole family. Review and replace the contents of your emergency kit every six months. Be sure to check expiration dates on food, water, medicine, and batteries and add any personal items that are unique to your needs.
Week 3: SHOW… Inspire others to prepare.
Research shows that talking about preparedness increases the likelihood of others taking steps to get prepared. Talk to your family and friends about the important steps they can take to be prepared. Be a preparedness role model – volunteer in your community, take a first aid and CPR class, or share a photo of your emergency kit or share a selfie of you and your family at your emergency meeting place.
Week 4: GO! Take immediate action to save lives.
It is vital that people take not only immediate but also the appropriate protective action when an emergency happens. Local officials will ask you to shelter in place (take shelter in a basement or windowless interior room) in some situations and to evacuate your home, workplace or community in response in others. Know when to go (or stay), where to go, how to get there and what to do BEFORE an emergency. The most important thing is to take immediate and decisive action.
Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.