Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 7:59am
During last December's blizzard, while most residents were safe at home waiting for the storm to pass, City managers were in the Emergency Operations Center preparing for the worst and planning for the quick restoration of basic services. It was a prime example of the City's Emergency Management plan in action.
As summer winds down, the City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents that September is Emergency Preparedness Month.
A core group of City Managers have taken on the task of developing a City-wide plan for emergencies. The group includes representation from fourteen city agencies including the Fire Department.
Preparedness is a collection of plans prepared by individuals, the city, county and state. While the City is prepared, the reality is that in a true emergency, many people may have to wait for services while response is geared to those who are most seriously injured or in need of rescue.
It's important that families prepare for emergencies by gathering emergency supplies and making plans before disaster hits.
A Special Needs Registry is already in place for residents of Dane County. The registry has been developed in an effort to identify individuals who cannot safely evacuate their homes in the event of a disaster. Registration does not guarantee any particular emergency services during a disaster. It will however enhance the ability of emergency management and local officials to meet the emergency needs of the community.
Every individual or family should put together an emergency kit that is easily accessible in case of an emergency. At a minimum, the kit should include:
?Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
?Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
?Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
?Flashlight and extra batteries
?First aid kit
?Whistle to signal for help
?Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
?Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
?Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
?Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
?Cell phone with chargers
Keep in mind that communication is often a challenge in emergency situations. Make sure you and your loved ones have an emergency communication plan:
?It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
?Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.
?You may have trouble getting through, or the telephone system may be down altogether, but be patient.
Being informed about the different types of emergencies that could happen where you live and the appropriate ways to respond to them will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take.
In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947