September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), and Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency (RCEMA) is urging all Rutherford County citizens to “Make Your Plan Today!”
The theme of 2020’s NPM is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”
Rutherford County Public Safety Director Chris Clark says making a plan is not as difficult as one might think. “At times, preparing for a disaster, known or unknown, can seem overwhelming, but preplanning can have a significant impact on the health and safety of your loved ones.”
Clark says ready.gov is a great resource for disaster planning information, and says RCEMA will be sharing tips and safety messages throughout the month of September on their Facebook page.
“The first thing you want to do is consider what types of disasters could affect our area,” said Clark. Clark mentions that ready.gov lists several types of disasters that could occur in Rutherford County including but not limited to floods, tornadoes, severe weather, explosions, active shooter incidents, home fires, and as 2020 revealed, even a pandemic.
“Once you know what types of disasters to prepare for, you can begin the planning process,” he continued. “You also want to sign up for your local emergency notification system.”
Rutherford County has the “Alert Rutherford” notification system and citizens can opt-in by visiting: rcecd911.org/alertrutherford. Clark says when signing up, you can select reasons for which you want to be contacted and preferences for forms of communication.
“Once you have those bases covered, your plan can start coming together,” said Clark.
Step 1: Put a plan together by discussing the following questions with your family, friends, or household:
1) How will I receive my notifications and warnings?
2) What is my shelter plan?
3) What is my evacuation route?
4) What is my family/household communication plan?
5) Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?
6) Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and update my emergency plans due to Coronavirus.
Step 2: Consider specific needs for your household. Tailor plans and supplies to your specific daily needs. Things to think about:
• Ages of members within your household.
• Responsibilities for assisting others.
• Locations frequented.
• Dietary needs.
• Medical needs/prescriptions.
• Languages spoken.
• Cultural/religious considerations.
• Pets or service animals.
• Households with school-aged children.
Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan (available on ready.gov/plan)
Step 4: Practice with your family/household.
Clark mentions that the ready.gov site can be very useful in assisting with developing the plan and providing forms that make the process consistent, efficient, and most importantly, effective. “There are resources for kids and even businesses as well,” he adds.
“Now more than ever, it is important to be prepared for whatever may come our way,” said Clark. “If we have learned anything in 2020, it is that we can expect the unexpected!”