September - Emergency Preparedness

Purpose
Nationally, September has been designated as Emergency Preparedness Month. If you have not thought about emergency preparedness planning for you and your family recently, we would encourage you to take a minute to review some information, and consider just how you might survive a disaster or emergency affecting your family. Disasters can come in many forms. They can be natural disasters such as floods or tornadoes, accidental or technological disasters such as a chemical leak or power outage, or hazards caused by intentional acts such as terrorism. Your pre-planned steps will determine just how well you are able to survive a disaster.

Make A Plan
Planning begins with understanding what disasters might impact you and your family. People living in areas prone to flooding would undoubtedly be concerned with matters related to that issue, and work toward concepts like hazard mitigation or evacuation planning. Knowing what disasters could most likely impact your specific community or family is the 1st step in preparing for a disaster. If you live in an area prone to utility disruption, include that into your plans.

Communication
Become familiar with the local warning systems and listen to emergency officials preceding and during these events. Heed their advice. They will help advise you on whether to evacuate or shelter-in-place during an emergency. Your family may not all be together when a disaster strikes. By planning in advance, you can establish a communication plan, or a predetermined designated location for people to go to if they are separated during such an event. Communication by phone may be extremely difficult during disasters. In some instances, having a family member or relative some distance away to serve as a designated contact is useful. Hopefully the disaster did not involve them, and they can serve as a central communication point to share important information, and coordinate activities between family members.

Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Your supply kit is a basic collection of items that might be needed during an emergency or disaster. It should be conveniently stored at home and capable of being carried away should you need to evacuate. Have this kit prepared before an emergency strikes. It is recommended that you should plan on constructing a kit to sufficiently meet your basic survival needs for at least 72 hours. It may take several days for emergency workers to reach everyone impacted by a large disaster. In addition, it may take days or even weeks before some utilities can be restored such as water service, electric or gas.

Items
Here are some basic suggested items to help you build an emergency preparedness kit for your family.
  • Water - Have 1 gallon of water per person, per day, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Non-perishable Foods - Again a 3-day supply per person, per day, is recommended.
  • Weather Alert Radio - Battery operated or hand crank radio with NOAA capability.
  • Flashlights - Also have extra batteries on hand for all such devices.
  • First Aid Kit - Also include other personal hygiene items specific to your needs.
  • Filter Masks - To prevent breathing particulates in the air.
  • Tools - Simple basic tools to help turn off utilities or assist with repairs or recovery efforts.
  • Manual Can Opener - For opening food items stored with your emergency kit.
  • Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape - Useful if you must shelter-in-place.
  • Family Documents - Helps to reestablish identity or banking needs if your ID becomes lost.
  • Miscellaneous Items - Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for sanitation.
  • Other items - Think of specific things you would need. Infant formula, diapers, prescription medication, additional clothing, a whistle, or waterproof matches are some examples.
  • Use this information as a guide to personalize your planning efforts and emergency kits.
  • Kit Maintenance - Replenish items as needed. Rotate food, water, and medications from the kit. Insure radios, flashlights, and similar items are working properly. Update your plan annually.
Stay Informed & Get Involved
Talk to your employer or your children's school to make sure they have emergency plans in place. Find out how you may be impacted if a business or school implements their emergency plans. If a school goes into a lockdown for example, you may not be able to pick up your children until the emergency has passed. Remember, it is for their safety as well as yours.

Ready
Ready.Gov is a government website created to help you with disaster planning. This site includes several documents that can be printed from your computer and filled out together as a family. The Family Emergency Plan is particularly useful and includes small planning cards which can be filled out and given to members of your family. Learn more about threats from such things as chemical, biological, explosive, radiological, or nuclear disasters incidents.

Get Involved
Next, get involved if possible. Join Citizen Corps and help other local citizens make our communities safer. You can receive training and equipment, and work alongside others during coordinated response efforts to help our neighbors in time of need.

Contact Us
The Lafayette Police Department's Crime Prevention efforts are meant to strengthen the partnership between our members, and the community that we serve. We hope that together, we can make our community safer. Please call the Lafayette Police Department at 765-807-1200 if you have a question.