September is National Preparedness Month
By Scarborough Emergency Management Office
During September we recognize National Preparedness Month, a great opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of personal and family preparedness. This year’s theme is “A Lasting Legacy: The life you’ve built is worth protecting”.
Planning is the first step in preparedness. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect our area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. As you put your plan together talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Start by asking yourself and your family the following questions: How will you receive emergency alerts and warnings? What is your shelter plan? What is your evacuation route? What is your family/household communication plan?
When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic and protocols to follow, you can review the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance online. Also, don’t forget to consider specific needs in your household including special dietary, medication, disabilities, or functional needs that must be considered. Fill out a family emergency plan and practice it.
Once you have a family plan in place, take some action by building a kit. Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control. Remember if disaster strikes you need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours.
It is important to prepare not only for emergencies, but any natural disasters that could occur in our area. Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in our area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.
Lastly, the Ready.gov preparedness toolkit places an emphasis on teaching our youth about preparedness. Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.
In Scarborough we have developed a comprehensive local resiliency program. You may access that important information from the Scarborough Public Library’s website at: https://www.scarboroughlibrary.org/resiliency/introduction-and-purpose.
Please consider spending a few minutes on these initiatives each week so you and your family are ready because disasters happen! Check out FEMA’s www.ready.gov website for detailed information on each of the items noted above and if you have any questions you may contact our Fire Department at (207) 883-4542.