Sheriff: Prepare in case of emergency

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With National Preparedness Month in September serving as a timely reminder, here are several ways that we can all keep our families safe in an emergency situation.

National Preparedness Month was founded by FEMA after Sept. 11 to increase awareness and encourage people to be more prepared, whether it is for a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. 

Emergencies can happen at any time and they seldom choose the moment we’re most prepared. Take time this month to prepare yourself and those in your care to handle those situations. These emergencies are frightening for adults and can be especially traumatic for children, if they don’t know what to do.

First responders work extremely hard to get to everyone as quickly as possible but when an entire community is affected, police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly. The most important step you can take to help your local first responders is to be prepared and able to take care of yourself and those in your care for at least a short period of time following an incident; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community can recover.

In 2009, the Citizen Corps National Survey revealed that only 57 percent of Americans reported having supplies set aside in their homes just for disasters, and only 44 percent had a household emergency plan. You can prepare by getting an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan, becoming informed about the different emergencies that may affect your area and taking the necessary steps to become engaged in community preparedness and response efforts.

You are not helpless in an emergency.  You can prepare for those emergencies by following the steps below.

Research: What kinds of emergencies are most likely to happen in your area?
* Bookmark to stay informed on severe weather.
* Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts, messages that will be sent to your phone during an emergency at
* Get practical tips on preparing for disaster at

Prepare your family: Ensure that you can go for at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or other local services.
* Prepare a disaster supply kit with at least three days of food and water for each family member and each pet.
* Create a Family Emergency Plan so that your family knows how to communicate during an emergency.
* Make sure at least one member of your family is trained in CPR.
* Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio.

Lead by example: Let your friends and family know that you’re prepared for an emergency and suggest that they prepare too. Research shows that many people won’t prepare until they see others doing so.
* Share your preparedness plan on Facebook so that friends and family will know what you’ll do in case of disaster.
* Get involved with your local American Red Cross Chapter or train with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
* Help your friends and their families prepare when possible.

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