National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month
“Prepared, Not Scared. Be Ready”

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). The event, now in its seventeenth year, is a nationwide, month-long effort encouraging households, businesses, and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies. We in Michigan are extremely lucky that we don’t have to worry about hurricanes and wildfires, however, we must be prepared for tornados, rain, and flooding as well as severe winter weather. To make a plan you must:

1.Find Out What Could Happen

Based on historical data and probability assessment,- the hazards most likely to occur in Berkley are; severe weather (tornado or severe thunderstorm with damaging winds; Snow or ice storm), blackout (wide-spread power outage), or structure fires.

How do you start to make your plan.

  • Meet with household members and discuss the dangers of possible emergency events, including fire, severe weather, and terrorism.
  • Learn if your community has a warning signal: what it sounds like and what you should do when you hear it.
  • Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
  • Ask about animal care after a disaster. Animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations.
  • Find out about the disaster plans in your workplace, your children’s school or daycare center, and other places where your family spends time.
2. Create an Emergency Plan

Family Preparedness

  • All family members must know their address and phone number.
  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 for emergency help.
  • Have a fire extinguisher (ABC type) in your home and teach appropriate family members where it is kept and how to use it.
  • Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches.
  • Plan how to take care of your pets.
Home Safety

  • Find safe spots in your home where you can go for each type of emergency.
  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation.
  • Plan two unobstructed exits from every room, including the second floor, and make sure everyone knows them.
  • Teach children how to safely exit a window, including using an object to break glass and putting a blanket over the frame to be protected from shards of glass.
  • Pick two places to meet when evacuating, such as:
    • Outside of your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
    • Outside of your neighborhood in case, you cannot return home.
3. Emergency Contacts

  • Choose an out-of-town or out-of-state contact your family or household members will call or e-mail to check on each other during an emergency.
  • Ensure everyone knows how to reach the contact person.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by each phone, including numbers for fire, police, ambulance, all Berkley emergency calls should be to 911.
4. Important Documents

  • Make a list of personal property and photograph the interior and exterior of your home.
  • Store important papers and valuables in a fireproof safe or cabinet.
  • Maintain proper insurance and coverage of your home and its contents (flood, renters, fire, and earthquake).
5. Safety Measures

  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home, following manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Install window ladders in case you need to evacuate. Make sure all household members know where they are and how to use them.
6. Get a Kit
An emergency may require you to immediately evacuate, take shelter, or go without basic services for an extended period of time. Should an emergency occur, you will need a supply of essential items to last you at least three days. These items should be included in a readily accessible 72-hour emergency supply kit, stored in a 5-gallon bucket, duffel bag, or backpack.

7. Practice and Maintain Your Plan
Quiz your children every six months so they remember what to do.

  • Conduct regular fire and emergency evacuation drills.
  • Take a first aid and CPR class.
  • Replace stored water and food every six months.
  • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries twice each year when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
Check Your Local School Emergency Plan

  • You need to know if the school will send children home or keep them at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up.
  • Be sure the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pick up.
  • Ask what type of authorization the school may require to release your child.
  • Be aware, during times of emergency, the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.
 
In addition, you should take time to learn lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid. Check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as floods, fires, and severe weather events. Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency.
 
The recent hurricanes and wildfires reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters.  Often, our residents will be the first ones in our communities to take action after a disaster strikes and before first responders arrive, so it is important to prepare in advance to help yourself and your community.

Information provided and prepared by the Michigan State Police Emergency Management & Homeland Security Division.

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