Just before the Emergency Preparedness Month of September, powerful storms in mid-August wreaked havoc and knocked out power for people all over Michigan. Those without generators for backup power were left with no working lights, no running water, no AC, no Internet or TV, and we continually flipped light switches as we entered rooms only to remember that there wasn’t any power. Planning is the key to making emergencies and power outages more manageable. That’s what Emergency Preparedness Month is all about.
Here in Michigan, the most common natural disasters include floods, severe storms (rain and snow), wildfires, power outages, and tornadoes. Make a plan for the household of personal responsibilities and a location to safely meet depending on the circumstance(s). If a tornado is coming, establish which room you are going to for safety or in case of a fire, where the household will meet outside.
Equally important is to make a kit/bag of supplies that can be tucked away but easy to get in the time of need. The kit should include some basics that will be handy no matter the situation. Those basics are items without expirations like cash (credit card machines will not work), radios, and a written list of contacts and current medications. Store shelf stable items such as distilled water, batteries, flashlight(s), non-perishable foods and a manual can opener, first-aid kit, and even a whistle to notify people are a good way to start. Also consider other unique needs you may have such as pets, baby food, etc.
To make emergency planning easier, use a system like www.do1thing.com to break the preparations into categories and by the month. Instead of seeing a long list, you know that “x” month is time to focus on water and getting/having a 3 day supply of water per person, next month you focus on getting a 3 day supply of food per person, and the month after that you identify the best storm shelter in your home and practice getting there.
For people with disabilities, emergencies and power outages raise other concerns such as:
- · How to charge a power mobility device or ventilator
- · Alternative exits to using an elevator or a lift if they lose power
- · How to keep insulin/medications viable and accessible
- · The easiest exit to use in various emergency cases
- · Hauling a kit with physical limitations
These are major health and safety risks for people that rely on those machines for daily life.
There are many scenarios we don’t think about normally that become essential during unexpected circumstances. Take the opportunity of Emergency Preparedness Month to become more aware.
People living in Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee Counties can give key data to their county to keep on file in case of an emergency. People provide as much helpful info as they want. Examples would be if someone is deaf, blind, uses a wheelchair, where bedrooms are located, information on pets or service animals, or any severe allergies, etc.
Alerts are sent to a smartphone during any nearby dangers such as severe weather or a missing person.
Jackson County use this link
Lenawee County use this link
Hillsdale County use this link
For even more information about emergency preparedness and ready kits go to https://www.ready.gov/