LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In the last two years, floods, tornadoes and ice storms have caused enough damage for five major federal disaster declarations and one emergency declaration in Kentucky.
The deadline is tomorrow – Tuesday, Sept. 21 – for individuals in Carter, Lewis, Madison, Mason, Pike and Rowan counties affected by the July storms to register for federal and state disaster assistance. It's also the deadline to return completed disaster loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
In this current disaster, severe storms caused flooding and mudslides in July. A couple of months before that, severe storms, flooding again and tornadoes created a disaster that impacted 84 Kentucky counties. January 2009 began with a massive ice storm that crippled Kentucky's power and communications systems; 110 of the Commonwealth's 120 counties were affected. Storms in spring and summer 2009 added straight-line winds to the ways disasters are described.
"Although government is expected to assist the public during times of emergencies and disasters, preparedness starts at home," Kentucky Emergency Management Director John W. Heltzel said.
"In the event of large scale disasters the government may be unable to respond immediately," Heltzel continued. "It's not ‘if' but ‘when' Kentucky has another disaster. Whether it is weather, earthquake, terrorists or manmade hazards, government and individuals must be ready."
September is National Preparedness Month and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials echo KYEM's message.
"It takes time to get state and federal resources mobilized after an event," Federal Coordinating Officer Terry L. Quarles said. "Kentuckians must be ready to care for themselves and their families for three days at least, until help arrives. We're encouraging everyone to get a kit, make a plan and be informed."
Your emergency kit – or kits for home, office and car – should include at least one gallon of water per person per day. Commercially bottled water containers should remain unopened until needed. Remember to periodically check expiration dates. Be sure to include at least one complete change of clothing and shoes per person. Since Kentucky winters can be severe, add warm clothing and bedding supplies.
Here are some additional items to include:
- Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper)
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Whistle for signaling
- Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including non-electric can opener
- Photocopies of credit and identification cards
- Cash, including coins (ATMs may not work)
- Personal medications, eye glasses, lens solutions and hearing aid batteries
- Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles and pacifiers
- If you have a companion animal, add what your pet needs
For other planning resources, visit www.Ready.gov.
Registering with FEMA can be done online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. People who have already registered can call the same number for the Helpline if they have questions or additional information to provide.
The SBA Disaster Customer Service Center toll-free number is 800-659-2955. Help is also available online at http://www.sba.g...