ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. – With 2011 – the Year of Irene – almost over, state and federal officials are urging Vermonters to take a moment to think about preparing for the next disaster.
“Vermonters showed tremendous courage and resilience in their response to and recovery from Tropical Storm Irene, as well as this past spring’s floods,” said Vermont Emergency Management Interim Director Peter Coffey. “Knowing that many Vermonters are still in the recovery phase, everyone should be thinking of being prepared for the next disaster.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “Ready Campaign” is urging all Americans to “Resolve to be Ready” for the New Year by taking steps to prepare themselves as well as their families, friends, communities and businesses for any future disasters.
“We at FEMA have been amazed at how Vermonters and their communities have come together to help each other in the wake of this year’s catastrophes,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo. “Taking the time to make a plan is a way to not only help your community, but to help yourself.”
Examples of steps Vermonters can take to significantly enhance their preparedness include:
For families or individuals:
- Decide on alternative ways for contacting one another and designate meeting locations should your home become uninhabitable.
- Identify out-of-town emergency contacts, and enter all contacts into your cell phones.
- Create an emergency supply kit that includes basic items such as first aid materials, blankets, food, water, and copies of important documents. Also include items unique to family members like prescription drugs, glasses etc.
- Communicate with your neighbors – working together and cooperating with each other is vital in times of emergency.
For the workplace:
- Develop ways to communicate with employees to inform them of possible or pending emergencies and consider what options might be available if employees cannot get home.
- Keep some supplies on hand. A first aid kit is a must and supplementing that with the items found in a disaster kit can only increase your capabilities in times of a disaster.
- Prepare a business continuity plan that would aid you in getting your business operating again after a disaster.
For the Community:
- Be informed. What types of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur in your area and how might you be notified?
- Get organized. Contact a nearby Citizen Corps Council for help with emergency planning (citizencorps.gov). If you don’t have one, work with local government and emergency management to start one in your area.
- Get involved with volunteer groups and get trained.
“Roughly half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions and commit to improvi...