September is National Preparedness Month. It was started 11 years ago by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to encourage people to prepare for emergencies and disasters.
This year’s theme is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.” Both DuPage County and the City of Naperville are joining in on the efforts to get residents ready for when something does happen.
First you’ll need a kit – have three days worth of canned food, water, medications, extra clothes and personal documents in case you need to evacuate.
Severe weather can happen at anytime and being able to leave in a moments notice can increase your chances of survival.
“It’s very important not just assembling a kit but making a plan because when a disaster strikes you can assume that mom dad and kids are all together but that may not be the case, kids may be at school, parents may be at work, so there should be a communication plan so parents will know how to communicate with each other,” said James Joseph, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management of DuPage County.
You also need to have a designated family member outside of the Chicagoland area that everyone can contact in case the group gets separated.
“We found through many disasters that text messaging stays up and works a lot better than the cell phone network so having a way to communicate via text message with an out of state contact can connect to reunite people,” said Dan Nelson, City of Naperville Emergency Management Coordinator.
If a family member does get lost, contact local law enforcement.
Everyone in the family should understand and know what actions to take if they need to leave the home, workplace or wherever else they may be.
The city of Naperville takes preparing one step further by offering free classes to teach residents all of the basics.
“We’re going to teach you how to prepare for incidents, small fire suppression, what to avoid, chemicals, basic first aid, stopping bleeding, to keeping people breathing,” said Rick Brock, Board Chairman of Naperville CERT.
Overall, the best way to keep your family safe is to take action and prepare.
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