Observe National Preparedness Month by Making a Kit, Making a Plan, Getting Informed and Getting Involved

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Media contacts:  
John O’Brien: (216) 698-3396 or jfobrien@cuyahogacounty.us;
Emily Lundgard: (216) 348-4395 or elundgard@cuyahogacounty.us

The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is dedicated to protecting lives, property, the environment, and the economy through effective preparedness, mitigation, and disaster response.  OEM would like citizens to recognize that September 2013 marks the ninth annual National Preparedness Month, which is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The goal of the National Preparedness Month campaign is to educate the public about how to prepare for any and all emergencies, including natural disasters, public health emergencies, and terrorist attacks.

OEM, in coordination with FEMA, recommends that all persons should prepare to be self-reliant for at least three days following a major disaster, as responding agencies may be overwhelmed and may not be able to provide immediate assistance.  A major disaster could disrupt electric, water, and gas services for an extended period and will prevent supermarkets, gas stations, hardware stores and ATMs from operating.

The 4 basic steps to preparedness:

1. Make a kit

If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water or electricity for some time. By taking time now to prepare emergency water supplies, food supplies and a disaster supplies kit, you can provide for your entire family. Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supplies for two weeks, consider maintaining a supply that will last that long.

You may not need to go out and buy foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use canned goods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard shelves.  

Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts (a half gallon) of water each day. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least an additional half-gallon per person per day for this. Store at least a 30-day supply and consider storing a two-week supply of water for each member of your family.

If you are unable to store this much, store as much as you can. You can reduce the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool. And don’t forget to take your pets and service animals into account.

2. Make a plan

Make plans with your family and friends in case you’re not together during an emergency. Discuss how you’ll contact each other, where you’ll meet and what you’ll do in different situations.

3. Be informed

Being prepared means staying informed. Check all types of media — websites, social media, newspapers, radio, TV, mobile and land phones — for global, national and local information. During an emergency, your local emergency management or emergency services office will give you information on such things as open shelters and evacuation orders.

4. Get involved

Look into taking first-aid courses and any emergency response training you see offered to the public, and volunteer to support your local community organizations such as the Salvation Army, United Way and the Red Cross.  

For more information about the Office of Emergency Management, visit http://ja.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/emergency-management.aspx