It’s almost August, and the good news is that, to date, there has been no named Atlantic tropical storms.
The potential bad news is that the hurricane season lasts until Nov. 30. So it’s easy to see that there is plenty of time left in the 2009 hurricane season. June 1 was the official start of the season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in its 2009 hurricane forecast, predicted an "average" season with as many as 14 named Atlantic storms — including up to three major hurricanes. Let’s hope, we will continue to have a quiet and non-eventful hurricane season.
There is even more good news.
When you prepare for natural disasters such as hurricanes, you also go far in getting ready for any other emergency situations, including potential terror attacks. In fact, being prepared for any type of disaster, either natural or man-made, is a vital element of our country’s homeland security strategy.
“Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now,” offers some very basic tips that you can implement right now to better prepare yourself and your family.
Now may be good time to review some of the ideas expressed in this 12-page booklet produced by the Department of Homeland Security.
EMERGENCY SUPPLIES: Just like having a working smoke detector in your home, having emergency supply kits will put the tools you may need at your fingertips. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
While there are many things that might make you comfortable, think first about fresh water, food, and clean air. Remember to include, and periodically rotate, medications you take every day such as insulin and heart medicine. Plan to store items in an easy-to-carry bag such as a shopping bag, backpack, or duffle bag. Check with your medical doctor for more details.
Consider two kits. In one, put everything you will need to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to get away.
EMERGENCY PLANNING: You should plan in advance what you will do in an emergency. Be prepared to access the situation, use common sense, and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Think about the places where your family spends time: school, work, and other places that you frequent. Ask about their emergency plans. Find out how they will communicate with families during an emergency. If they do not have an emergency plan, consider helping develop one.
SPECIFIC TERRORIST THREATS: It is important to remember there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats (such as a biological threat, a chemical threat, a nuclear blast, or a so-called “dirty bomb”) that will influence the decisions you make and the actions you take. By beginning a process of learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency.
IN ALL CASES, REMAIN CALM: Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities on the scene.
Above all, stay calm, be patient, and think before you act. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected. If you have a working smoke detector, you understand that preparing makes sense. Get ready now.
This is, of course, a very brief review of some of the ideas suggested in the booklet, “Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.”
For more information and details on these vital topics, go to www.ready.gov. Also, contact your local department of emergency management for more details.
A Quick Security Tip: Many of the suggestions in this Department of Homeland Security booklet may also apply to disastrous events other than terrorism. For instance, the millions of folks living in the destructive paths of recent major hurricanes can attest firsthand to the wisdom of being prepared for any type of disaster, be it either natural or man-made.
My Final Thoughts: The possible threats facing the United States, such as terrorism, health pandemics, and weather disasters are, sadly, very real. Just like a family’s likelihood of surviving a house fire partially depends on having a working smoke detector and a proper escape plan, the same is true of surviving any potential catastrophe.
No matter how good our government agencies are in attempting to prevent any threats before they occur, we must take personal responsibility, and do our part by at least taking the simple steps, as suggested by the Department of Homeland Security and other emergency management agencies, in planning for the unexpected.
Copyright 2009 by Bruce Mandelblit
Bruce Mandelblit (www.Mandelblit.com) is a nationally known security and safety journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer. His e-mail address is CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.
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