Local Health Departments are celebrating National Preparedness Month, joining our Emergency Management Directors in encouraging residents to be prepared for any emergency. While we hope that our communities will be prepared to address any emergencies we may face, we know that those families and individuals who plan ahead will have an easier time should an event occur.
There are many publications available for free that provide checklists to use in preparing a go-kit, something to be grabbed at a moment’s notice. Some are available at the websites for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, others at sites such as the American Red Cross. The common theme throughout is individual preparedness; government resources should not be expected to address all needs.
The challenge is thinking about what you will need for a short term displacement. For example, a family with children in diapers should have enough with them to cover changes for 2 days; baby food and formula should be brought as well. Children will often outgrow their clothes in a matter of months, so review the bags quarterly to ensure the backup clothes and diapers still fit.
Medications are an important issue. Residents are encouraged to make sure that they always have a few days’ supply available, in case they need to evacuate, or in case weather conditions impact shipping. People who rely on electricity to generate oxygen should have a battery backup, as well as tube gas to rely on.
Pets provide an additional dimension to preparedness. Carrying containers, leashes, and food need to be brought along during an evacuation. If the animals are on medications, then those should be planned for, and always have rabies vaccination information with you.
The best help for those who need additional assistance is family and neighbors. Whether the emergency requires us to evacuate or to shelter in place, family and neighbors should work together to ensure the safety of all. Check on your neighbors, and make sure that they have what they need; if we care for each other, we accomplish a lot.
Join the conversation at #ReadyMA and utilize all publications to build your go-kit during the first week of preparedness month to get you and your family ready. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.