September is Emergency Preparedness Month
BEDFORD — Police Chief Robert Bongiorno and Fire Chief David Grunes wish to remind residents that September is National Preparedness Month and provide the community with a number of tips on preparing for various emergency situations.
“It is important for all residents to be prepared for any type of disaster that could happen at any time,” Chief Grunes said. “Preparing for disaster by making a plan, practicing a plan and building an emergency kit can go a long way in protecting your family in an emergency.”
National Emergency Preparedness Month is meant to promote family and community disaster planning throughout the year. The theme for this year’s national campaign is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plans Today.” Additionally, September has been declared by Gov. Charlie Baker to be Emergency Preparedness Month.
“We want residents to be prepared for any type of emergency and be proactive in developing a plan that will keep their families and themselves safe,” said Chief Bongiorno. “You don’t want to wait until disaster strikes to make a plan or gather supplies, so it is important to take time now to plan out precautions that will protect your family and property.”
In order to ensure preparedness and safety for all, Bedford Police and Fire encourage residents to follow these tips provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA):
Make a Plan
- Develop a shelter in place plan. Remain indoors as much as possible, watch TV and listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available
- Know your evacuation plan. Learn the types of disasters that are likely in your community and the local emergency, evacuation and shelter plans for each specific disaster. Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.
- Stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts
- Develop a family emergency plan by establishing meeting locations, creating an emergency contact plan, planning how to evacuate and learning how to shelter in place. Practice your plan with your entire family, and make sure the plan accounts for individuals who have access needs, seniors, children and pets.
- Check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and update your emergency plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Build a Kit
MEMA recommends that emergency kits include essential items that will provide your family members with basic necessities for up to three days in an emergency event. Essential items to include in a kit are:
- Water: Bottled water (one gallon per person/per day for at least three days), water purification tablets
- Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods that do not need cooking (ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits or vegetables, or juices, protein or granola bars, cereal, peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, crackers, baby food and comfort foods)
- Tools and Supplies: Manual can opener, radio (powered by battery or hand crank), flashlight or lantern, extra batteries, cell phone with charger, wrench, pliers and other basic tools
- Personal Items: Prescription medications (two-week supply), personal hygiene items, eyeglasses, contact lenses, dentures, extra batteries or supplies for medical equipment, change of clothes, sturdy shoes
- Documents: Insurance policies, bank account records, identification cards (IDs), medical information and other copies of important documents
- Money: Extra cash and traveler’s checks (ATMs may not work during a power outage)
- Other Items: First-aid kit, emergency whistle, waterproof matches/lighter, local area maps, sleeping bags or blankets, comfort items such as books or games
- Also consider: A watch or clock, disposable kitchenware, duct tape, plastic sheeting or tarp to protect against the elements
- Cloth face coverings (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
Prepare for Disasters
- Know what disasters and hazards can affect your area, how to receive emergency alerts and your family’s evacuation plan
- Hurricanes can cause damage from strong winds, flooding and storm surges. The Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to Nov. 30
Teach Youth About Preparedness
- Talk to your kids about how to prepare for emergencies and make sure they understand your family plan. Allow them to be involved in making your family plan and provide them information about disasters to reduce stress.
- The DHS provides resources on how to teach kids of all ages about how to be prepared in case of an emergency
For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit Ready.gov.