◆ September is National Preparedness Month.
With a chill in the air and families making fall preparations for winter, Lincoln County Emergency is asking area residents to take stock.
“The month of September marks National Preparedness Month, serving as a reminder for each of us to review our personal, family, and community preparedness,” said Stephen Malik, public information officer for LC Emergency Management. “As has been seen around the country and beyond, disasters can and do strike in many ways and during all times of year. So far in 2020, our nation has experienced a pandemic, economic shutdown and job loss, earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, flooding, civil unrest, and more.”
“Many of our residents have already been impacted in some way by the ongoing pandemic and economic challenges,” Malik continued. “Rural areas such as ours present unique challenges with regard to limited resources and trained personnel availability in response to disaster. Because of this, it is important that we all take steps to prepare for a wide variety of circumstances that could affect our area.”
Lincoln County Emergency Management provided the following tips for helping area residents to be better prepared for emergency situations.
• Make a Plan
“Beginning a preparedness strategy is simple,” said Malik. “First, determine the types of risks that you and your place of residence are susceptible to. Many risks are easily identified, but if you aren’t sure, you can reach out to local emergency management personnel. Once risks are identified, you can plan with your family how to mitigate these risks and make goals to work towards.”
According to Malik, emergency plans should include:
• meeting places for family members,
• how to communicate,
• out of state contacts,
• evacuation routes,
• supply sources, etc.
“There are many guides and helpful documentation available at www.ready.gov/plan that can get you started,” said Malik. “Plans don’t have to be elaborate, and simply talking with family members, friends, and neighbors can help you gain understanding and support. Each family has unique needs depending on economic status, medical needs, etc., so you should make your plans based upon those circumstances.”
Build a Kit
“Most of us have heard of 72-hour kits,” said Malik. “This usually consists of some type of bag that contains enough food, water, shelter, and other essentials to sustain you for a minimum of three days. This kit can travel with you if you need to evacuate to a shelter or to another location. Each family member should have their own kit with supplies specific to them. Once this has been achieved, you can then gather additional supplies for long-term preparedness efforts.”
“Again, start small with achievable goals, and build up your provisions until you have enough for multiple months or even a year,” Malik said. “You should address food, water, shelter, heat, medications or other medical needs, hygiene and sanitary supplies, and other things that you need for your day-to-day survival. It may also be beneficial to coordinate with neighbors to pool certain types of resources.”
• Stay Informed
“Timely and correct information is vital to making critical decisions in all phases of disaster,” said Malik.
“There are multiple ways to get local emergency information, but each individual requires the means of accessing these information channels. Have you thought about local warning and public notification systems? Have you signed up for emergency alerts?”
According to Malik, Lincoln County Emergency Management utilizes multiple systems to disseminate information to the public. They include:
• The CodeRED Emergency Notification System, go to Lincoln County website (www.lcwy.org) and look for “CodeRED Notifications” for a link to sign up.
• Social media
• Local and regional news outlets, including newspaper and AM/FM radio stations or television broadcasting
• The county website can be updated to provide detailed information for events that are ongoing for multiple days.
“Community Emergency Response Team training is available through Lincoln County Emergency Management,” said Malik. “This program covers many facets of preparedness and response to disaster and is geared towards the general public. Everyone has something to offer in the response effort, especially in large events that strain professional response resources. Contact Lincoln County Emergency Management for information about this and other training opportunities.”
• Additional Resources
General information about preparedness can be found online at the following: