August 08, 2020

Are you disaster-ready? County urges residents to be aware, prepare


With the peak of hurricane season approaching, Alexander County Emergency Management officials are encouraging residents and businesses to review and discuss their emergency plans and update their emergency supplies kits.

“You cannot predict when weather-related or man-made emergencies will occur, but residents can plan now how they will respond when disasters strike,” said Garrett Huffman, Alexander County Emergency Management Coordinator. “It’s simple steps that can save lives. Make a family emergency plan, practice that plan, and put together an emergency supplies kit. Being prepared before a disaster makes recovering from one a little bit easier. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”

While Alexander County isn’t typically affected by hurricanes, most residents do remember or have heard about Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Plus, with hot temperatures and high humidity, the county experiences numerous threats of severe thunderstorms this time of year.

Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed August as North Carolina Preparedness Month, in advance of the peak weeks of hurricane season.

Alexander County Government encourages residents, schools, and business owners to make a plan and practice it routinely with other household members, staff or employees. The plan should include details about where to meet, how to get in touch with one another, evacuation plans, what to do with pets, and how to notify employees after an emergency.

“An emergency plan is only the first step in being prepared for when disasters strike,” Huffman stated. “Having a plan in place is only good if you practice it. Talk to others in your home about the plan, and be sure to talk with your child about their school’s emergency plans.”

Huffman said the next step is to put together an emergency supplies kit, which contains items needed for survival regardless of the emergency.

“Emergency supplies kit items can be found around the house,” Huffman said. “Having an emergency supplies kit will help you after an emergency because first responders may not be able to reach you quickly. Or, having important papers readily accessible will speed up the recovery process because you can more quickly process insurance claims. Regardless of the reason, an emergency kit is essential.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, be sure to add items to your kit to keep your family healthy, including masks or cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes or gloves.

Basic items that should be in an emergency kit are:
Water – 1 gallon per person per day for 3 to 7 days
Food – non-perishable and canned food supply for 3 to 7 days
Mask or cloth face coverings for each family member
Hand sanitizer
Sanitizing wipes
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio with extra batteries
Cell phone with charger, cable, and portable charger
First aid kit and first aid book
Flashlight and extra batteries
Manual can opener for food
Wrench or pliers to turn off water
Blanket or sleeping bag – 1 per person
Prescription medications, glasses, and hearing aids
Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes
Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine supplies
Extra house and car keys
Important documents – insurance policies, copy of driver’s license, Social Security card, bank account records
Fire extinguisher
Cash and change
Books, games, or cards

For more emergency preparedness information visit ReadyNC.org.

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