FEMA: Prepare now for possible disaster tomorrow

Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A national campaign is underway, urging Americans to prepare now for possible disaster, tomorrow.

The campaign is leading up to an April 30 event called America’s PrepareAthon!

Organizers describe it as a “national call to action for individuals and organizations to take simple, specific actions to improve their preparedness for a potential disaster.”

For some communities around the country, that means holding earthquake preparedness workshops. Others are conducting nuclear siren tests. Still others are planning storm-spotter classes.

Around the Tennessee Valley, tornadoes are among the top threats to life and property.

As one way of preparing, emergency officials are recommending every family put together a disaster kit – with items that would be needed if you came out of your safe place to find severe damage with no power or water.

According to FEMA, some items to consider are:

  • Battery-powered or crank-operated flashlight. If using a battery-powered flashlight, turn it on outside the
    building first because the battery could produce a spark and cause a fire if gas is
    present. Include spare batteries.
  • Battery-powered or crank-operated radio
  • First aid kit for minor injuries
  • Complete change of clothing – including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work
    gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes
  • Whistle or air horn to notify rescuers in case you are trapped by debris resulting
    from the tornado
  • Dust mask to protect you from inhaling particles and fine debris
  • Food and water for a day or two
  • Medications and medical supplies
  • A special comfort item, such as a stuffed animal or book, for children (e.g., stuffed animal, book, game) to
    provide comfort

For other ideas on what to include in a disaster kit, click here.

FEMA also recommends storing the important documents you will need to start your recovery in a fireproof, waterproof box. If records are stored electronically, keep a backup drive in the box or use a secure, cloud-based service. Don’t forget to take pictures or videotape your home’s contents periodically. For more information on safeguarding your documents, click here.

Finally, one of the best ways to prepare for disaster is to undergo training in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program. It provides training in basic response skills.

The program covers topics such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.

To search for a CERT program near you, click here.

In the Huntsville area, an organization called DIB ISAC (Defense Industrial Base Information Sharing and Analysis Center) is willing to help neighborhood and community groups organize CERT programs for residents.

While DIB ISAC helps companies prepare against man-made and natural threats, Executive Director Steve Lines says the agency is also willing to help community members.

Those interested in learning more may contact Lines at Steve.Lines@dibisac.net

 

 

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