Story last updated at 9/5/2012 - 1:16 pm
Avalanches, bombs, cold weather, catastrophic events, destructive forces of nature, floods, fires. When you hear these things, what do you think of?
As the emergency programs manager for the city of Juneau I think, "Are you prepared, are we prepared as a community?"
September is National Preparedness Month. It's time spend a few minutes thinking about your personal preparedness and to make a list of a few little things you can do to make a difference for yourself and the community in a time of crisis.
Do you have a family communication plan, a family reunification plan? Do you have a go bag, are all of your critical documents organized so you can grab them and go? What about your medications, prescriptions, and critical personal goods? What about your pets? Do you have two weeks of food for them, for your family? A little planning can go a long way in solving problems in the future.
When we think preparedness we don't think about one specific event. We should be thinking about All-Hazards and the things we can do to be prepared for a wide array of circumstances across the board.
As it is National Preparedness Month the Juneau Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) would like to share a few ideas with you in regards to personal preparedness.
The National Weather Service asks you to: Know before you go.
1) Check the weather forecasts for the area that you are going and your route of travel. Be completely prepared for those conditions, and even worse.
2) View the current weather observations for your trip and the trend in the current weather.
3) En route, at your destination, and during the return trip - Keep a high level of situational awareness and be alert to deteriorating, potentially hazardous weather conditions. Listen for updated forecasts during the trip. Your sources are NOAA Weather Radio, NWS cell phone apps, and the internet when available http://pajk.arh.noaa.gov/
The Juneau Police Department reminds you:
1) When Calling 911 be prepared to give the Dispatcher your location. Cell Phones and internet based phones may not provide the enhanced 911 feature of automatically providing a location. The response of your first responders may be delayed if the Dispatcher has to research your location. Also, if the phone call is interrupted before you finish, having the location of the incident will allow first responders to head to your location without delay.
2) Keep a stash of cash. During a disaster you might not be able to access your funds electronically. Having cash on hand will allow you to maintain purchasing power without having to rely on credit/ debit cards.
3) Make sure that you have a working cell phone charger in your vehicle. This allows you to maintain communication without power to your home or in the event land lines go down as well.
Red Cross reminds you to: Utilize modern electronic technology appropriately. Consider using avalanche beacons in the winter backcountry and SPOT locators for summertime travel.
Alaska Public Health Nursing reminds you: During a disaster, it may be difficult to obtain prescription medications because stores may be closed, supplies may be limited, or you may be unable to leave your home. Make sure you keep a minimum of three to seven days worth of your medications, both prescription and over the counter, on hand. Keep a list of medications (including dosages) for yourself and your family members. If you ever need to evacuate your home, take your medications and any needed medical supplies such as diabetic testing equipment, and the list of your medications with you.
Assembly Member Ruth Danner reminds you:
1) The USCG has a float-plan on line that you can fill out and leave at your office or with a neighbor or friend. "Filing a Trip Plan" can also be as simple as phoning a friend or family, telling them where you are going and when you intend to return, then promising to call them back when you return. Tell them if you don't call back by a certain period of time, after the expected hour, they should try to call you and if they can't reach you, they should call 911 and report you missing.
2) In the event of a disaster, whether natural or man-made, your family will want to know where you are and that you are okay. The phone lines will be jammed. Texting is the best way to reach family and friends. It does not require as much band-width or as long a sustained connection as a voice call.
There are also some great resources available online to help guide you along in the preparedness process. Go to: READY.GOV to learn more.
To do your part: Be informed, make a plan, build a kit, and get involved.
Do You Want to make a difference and be a supporting member of your community through times of crisis? The Juneau LEPC is preparing to launch our free Community Emergency Response Team Training in the month of October. Look for ads later this month telling more about these free training events or contact me @ Tom_Mattice@ci.juneau.ak.us.