Within the next few days, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting a possible major hurricane to hit somewhere along the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps even near still storm ravaged New Orleans.
Also, a new tropical storm just formed in the Atlantic Ocean that is also predicted to become a hurricane. And, this past week, Tropical Storm Fay slowly moved across Florida and into numerous other Southern states causing, unfortunately, some loss of life and millions of dollars in property damage.
Is there any good news to be found here?
The good news is that with a hurricane, the general public will receive warnings that their city might be in its destructive path. This gives virtually everyone the opportunity to prepare with an emergency supply of food, water, ice, and to have a full tank of gas.
For some unknown reason, many folks do not heed this simple advice.
Of course, there might be a few people, such as the disabled or very elderly, who might not be able to properly prepare for disasters. But for the rest of us, it is just good common sense to have a proper emergency kit, including the appropriate amount of extra water and non-perishable food, always available year-round.
If you factor in other natural and man-made disasters, everything from tornados to terrorism, it is absolutely necessary to be prepared for unexpected emergencies every day.
A booklet published by the National Crime Prevention Council, “United For A Stronger America: Preparedness Guide,” offers some simple and practical preparedness tips.
First, here are some outstanding “general emergency preparedness” ideas:
1. Make a list of important local numbers. Write down important local numbers, such as the non-emergency numbers for the police department, fire department, and the FBI field office. Keep these numbers by the phone, and make copies for yourself and your family to keep in their wallets.
2. Write down phone numbers and contact information for your family. Keep one copy by the phone and provide others to family and friends.
3. Make a neighborhood directory and plan. Include emergency contact information and plans for children and seniors who may be home alone during emergency situations. Identify neighbors who need additional help, such as young children, seniors, and those with disabilities, and develop a plan to assist them in an emergency.
4. Make your house easy to find. Make sure your street address is large and well lighted so that emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
5. Organize an emergency preparedness kit. Check batteries, change the stored water and rotate the food supplies every six months. Your kit should contain, as a very bare minimum, the following basic supplies: A three- to five-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day); food that will not spoil and requires no cooking; a first-aid kit and needed medicines (consult your physician or pharmacist about storing medications and keep copies of your prescriptions); emergency tools like a battery-powered radio, cell phones, flashlight, and extra batteries; personal item like toilet paper and plastic garbage bags; a portable emergency generator, if possible.
A Quick Tip: In light of the recent hurricanes, it may be a good idea to consider having a 10-day fresh water and non-perishable food supply. If you do use an emergency generator, be sure to take all the proper safety measures when using such equipment.
In addition, the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide information about what to include in supply kits and how to learn about CPR and First Aid training in your neighborhood. To learn more, please contact the Red Cross at 1-866-GET-INFO or at www.redcross.org, and FEMA at 1-800-480-2520 or at www.fema.gov.
This publication also suggests the following evacuation plans:
Develop a home evacuation plan and practice it with your family and neighbors. Know what to do if you are instructed to evacuate your home or community.
Every child or other member of your family should know exactly how to get out of your home in case of a fire or other emergency. Find at least two ways of each room in your home if possible. If you live in an apartment building, know the evacuation plan. Then, agree on a place nearby to meet once everyone gets out of the house or apartment.
Plan how to take care of pets. Remember that, with the exception of guide dogs, shelters usually do not allow pets.
Learn how to shut off utilities such as gas, electricity, and water.
Contact the National Crime Prevention Council at www.weprevent.org for more details and for information on how you can obtain a copy of this informative booklet for yourself at no charge. In addition, be sure to check out www.ready.gov, an excellent emergency preparedness Web site from the US Department of Homeland Security.
My Final Thoughts: Take the personal responsibility right now of being ready for the unexpected emergency. A catastrophe can occur at anyplace, at any time, without any warning. From possible acts of terrorism to a hurricane, and from large-scale power outages to a earthquake, your emergency preparedness efforts may need to be put into action in a moments notice.
There is a multitude of outstanding resources available to you from both governmental agencies and non-profit organizations, so do your research and formulate the best emergency plan for you and your family’s individual needs.
Note: If you manufacture or distribute any Security, Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Defense or Crime Prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.
Copyright 2008 by Bruce Mandelblit
“Staying Safe” with Bruce Mandelblit (www.Mandelblit.com) is a regular column for the readers of Newsmax.com and Newsmax.com magazine.
Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.
Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer.
Bruce writes "Staying Safe," a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety and crime prevention.
Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel — the state’s highest honor — for his public service.
This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.
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