National Preparedness Month kicks-off throughout the country. Over the next few weeks, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management will deliver several key emergency management initiatives and messages designed to help New Jersey residents empower themselves and their families in the event of a natural or manmade emergency.
As such, today we start with the simple steps that New Jerseyians can do to prepare for the unforeseen as well as reduce stress and confusion during an actual emergency. The basics of preparedness for virtually all hazards are the same: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Stay Informed and Become Involved. Following the appropriate steps and being ready “now” means that residents will be ready for any disaster or crisis that may affect New Jersey.
“Planning and preparation are the cornerstones of safety. By taking time to create an appropriate emergency plan for yourself, your family or place of business, you are readying your environment for any potential emergency,” said State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes, Director of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.
The following are some quick tips for emergency preparedness:
STEP ONE: “GET A KIT” of Emergency Supplies
ITEMS FOR YOUR HOME
• Three days’ supply of canned, non-perishable, ready-to-eat FOOD
• Three days’ supply of WATER (a total of three gallons per family member)
• Battery-operated RADIO and extra batteries
FLASHLIGHT and extra batteries
• One week’s prescription MEDICATIONS
• FIRST AID KIT
• Personal TOILETRIES
• Non-electric CAN OPENER and UTENSILS
SPECIAL NEEDS items:
– INFANT care items
– Items for ELDERLY family members
– Items for relatives with DISABILITIES
– CASH or TRAVELERS CHECKS
– Store important DOCUMENTS in a waterproof, safe location
IN CASE YOU NEED TO EVACUATE
– Keep your vehicle’s gas tank level at a half-tank
– Every family member must carry CONTACT INFORMATION:
– All phone numbers at work, school, etc. for every family member
– The name and number of a relative who lives out-of-state, to call in case your family gets separated.
STEP TWO: “MAKE A PLAN” for Yourself, Your Family or Your Business
• Meet with the members of your household or office
• Talk about the types of disasters that are most likely to happen in your area
• Take time to explain the dangers of emergency incidents to children
• Discuss why everyone needs to prepare for a disaster
• Address any special needs concerns in the event of an emergency
• Build an emergency contact phone list
• Make provisions for pets
• Remember to establish and share emergency incident responsibilities
• Emphasize that teamwork and staying calm are key
STEP THREE: “STAY INFORMED” of Possible Threats
It is important to know about the risks that may happen in your community, and to know whether an emergency is imminent or is already taking place.
Contact your local Office of Emergency Management
– Ask which Types of Emergency are most likely in your area, and how to prepare for each.
– Learn about the warning signals that will be used in your community.
– Learn about the local radio and TV stations you should tune into for emergency alerts and official instructions.
Learn about the disaster plans for your Workplace, your children’s School or Day Care Center, and Other Places where your family spends time.
Keep track of Current Weather Forecasts and Alerts with:
- Local radio and TV stations as well as via internet publications
- NOAA Weather Radio – or listen online
STEP FOUR: “BECOME INVOLVED” through Volunteerism via CERT
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts. New Jersey boasts the largest CERT contingent in the nation with 12,000 members and growing. Become a part of the CERT team today by calling 609-963-6900 ext. 6995.