Families Urged to Review Emergency Plans

Wi Editorial Staff | 9/16/2009, 9:01 p.m.

To underscore the sixth annual National Emergency Preparedness Month, Prince George€s County Office of Homeland Security Director Vernon Herron is urging families to use the annual event each September to review and update their Family Emergency Plan. Herron said the federal government€s Homeland Security Web site is excellent and has everything families need to prepare an effective plan at www.ready.gov.

€Our hearts and minds recalled the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 and those we lost and their families. The best work we do which honors them is to assure that our communities are more aware and better informed about the importance of having a Family Emergency Plan. I€m urging families to establish a yearly habit of reviewing their plans, just as many families use the switch to daylight savings time as a yearly reminder to change the batteries in home fire alarms as a way of practicing home fire safety,€ Herron said.
The Ready America theme under ready.gov is Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed. Step-by-step instructions are provided to:

* Get A Kit - which lists items for a basic kit such as water, food and a first aid kit, and an additional list to include items such as prescription medications and glasses, infant formula and diapers, and cash, traveler€s checks and change.

* Make A Plan - points out that all family members may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to have a plan in advance about how you will contact each other; how you will re-unite; and what you will do in different kinds of situations.

* Be Informed - urges families to learn about the differences among emergencies because that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. The site includes a Readiness Quotient quiz that can be used to check your readiness knowledge.

Shelter in Place:

Director Herron said he hopes families will also review the section under €Make A Plan€ that provides information on sheltering in place.

€This may be the first decision you have to make in an emergency. The information found in this section is excellent and includes diagrams for properly sealing a room as a temporary protective measure if necessary,€ Herron said.

Herron says emergency preparedness today is everyone€s concern because we are all affected. One example, he said, occurred in 2009 when television stations stopped broadcasting on traditional analog airwaves and switched to digital.

€The change affected nearly everyone, but that change freed up new parts of the analog system that can now be used by public safety communications,€ Herron said.