MOUNT VERNON — The theme for National Preparedness Month (NPM) in September is: “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now.”
Knox County Emergency Management Agency Director Mark Maxwell said it’s good to have everybody better prepared for an emergency. More people being prepared to take care of themselves can free First Responders to deal with the most urgent situations.
As part of Preparedness Month, Maxwell said they are planning the annual county exercise. It will take place Sept. 29 with the scenario being a hazardous materials spill in the Fredericktown area.
The situation will involve Fredericktown Fire, EMS and Police, and also Mount Vernon Fire Department, the Ohio Highway Patrol, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Mobile Operations Center.
“It’s an opportunity to test our capabilities,” Maxwell said.
Meanwhile, the state organization is spreading the word that everyone can take actions now to plan and prepare for disasters. Being prepared now allows individuals and neighborhoods the knowledge to be sustainable until first responders can arrive.
NPM is designed to raise awareness and to encourage everyone to prepare themselves for emergencies that could impact their homes, their businesses, their schools and communities.
“There is no better time than now to be prepared,” said Sima Merick, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. “Emergencies and disasters can happen at any time, often without any warning. Knowing what hazards or severe weather events could impact your area; practicing your emergency plans; updating your disaster supply kits — these are just some things everyone can do to be self-sufficient and to enhance community resilience.”
Additional NPM Actions to Prepare Now:
•Organize disaster supply kits for your home and vehicles. A supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need, in the event of an emergency. Most items in a basic kit are inexpensive and easy to find. And you might already have a lot of the items in your home. After a disaster happens, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Your disaster kits should have enough food, water and other essential items to sustain everyone in your home (including pets) for at least three days.
•Take time to learn life-saving skills – actions you can take to prepare for and protect against disasters and severe weather events. Install smoke, carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors and test them monthly. Know how to turn off utilities, like water and gas. Talk to your landlord or building manager about evacuation routes and fire safety. Know two ways out of your home in case of a fire and practice evacuation plans.
•Check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards that might impact your home or community, such as flooding, tornadoes or home fires.
•Consider the costs associated with disasters. Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. Have small bills on hand because ATMs and credit cards may not work after a disaster when you may need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.