Archive for Thursday, September 1, 2011

Residents urged to participate in National Preparedness Month

September 1, 2011

Severe storm season might be over in Kansas, but recent hurricanes and earthquakes are reminders that natural disasters can happen at any time.

In an effort to help residents be ready when emergencies happen, Douglas County Emergency Management is celebrating National Preparedness Month, which begins today. Jillian Rodrique, DCEM assistant director reported to the Baldwin City Council at its Aug. 15 meeting about what DCEM is doing for the month's celebration.

“We've been to Baldwin City and they've declared September National Preparedness Month,” Rodrique said. “It's an opportunity and an effort to encourage all citizens to take a few simple steps to be prepared. Part of that is we will have a 30 days, 30 ways campaign. Basically, we will give a simple step that people can do to be prepared each day.”

This September marks the eighth-annual National Preparedness Month. In conjunction with the month-long celebration, DCEM will be hosting its fifth-annual Douglas County Preparedness Fair on Sept. 24 in Lawrence.

“It's a free event and open to anybody,” Rodrique said. “Several different agencies from the area come and participate in the fair, as well as some of response vehicles from some of the agencies. Several of the agencies will be donating items. The idea behind this is for people to come to the fair, get information and walk away with the start of a basic preparedness kit.”

Attending the fair isn't required to understand how to be prepared for an emergency or natural disaster. Rodrique says citizens are welcome to go online and read more information about how to be prepared.

Rodrique says every emergency kit should include one gallon of water per person per day and she suggests preparing for three days. She also suggests non-perishable food items and canned food with pop tops, in case a can opener isn't available.

Other items for an emergency kit include battery-powered or hand-cranked AM/FM radio, weather radio, first aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, whistle for help and important documents, such as copy of driver's license or insurance numbers. Other things to remember are pets and Rodrique suggests people also pack a photo of them in case the animals become lost.

“A lot of these items are things that people already have,” Rodrique said. “It's just about putting them all into one place and keeping them there so they are ready to go if you have to take shelter or evacuate.”

Rodrique and other members of DCEM hope local residents will take part in the monthlong celebration before winter months hit and storms roll around next spring.

“We also saw two earthquakes recently,” she said. “That's also a reminder that we won't know somethings are coming. If you can be a step ahead, it will make things a little easier and less stressful.”

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