During September, we recognize National Preparedness Month, a great opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of personal and family preparedness. This year’s theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait, Make Your Plan Today”.

Each week of the month has a different theme. During week 1 (Sept. 1-5) the focus is on making a plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect our area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. As you put your plan together start by asking yourself and your family the following questions: How will you receive emergency alerts and warnings? What is your shelter plan? What is your evacuation route? What is your family/household communication plan? Do you need to update your emergency preparedness kit?

Don’t forget to review the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance and include face coverings, disinfectants, and any other items necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t forget to consider specific needs in your household including special dietary, medication, disabilities, or functional needs that must be considered. Fill out a family emergency plan and practice it.

In week 2 (Sept. 6-12) the focus is on building a kit. Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home.  Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control. Remember if disaster strikes you need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours.

During week 3 (Sept. 13-19) we concentrate on preparing for disasters. Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in our area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.

In week 4 (Sept. 20-26) the emphasis is on teaching youth about preparedness. Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.

In Scarborough we have developed a comprehensive local resiliency program. You may access that important information from the Scarborough Public Library’s website at: https://www.scarboroughlibrary.org/resiliency/introduction-and-purpose

Please consider spending a few minutes on these initiatives each week so you and your family are ready because disasters happen. Check out FEMA’s www.ready.gov website for detailed information on each of the items noted above and if you have any questions you may contact me at mthurlow@scarboroughmaine.org or 730-4201.

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