September is National Preparedness Month, a time for families and communities to get ready for disasters and emergencies before they strike. The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) recommends that residents take the following steps to be Prepared Not Scared:
- Get informed – Know what types of emergency situations could occur where you live, work, or go to school. Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area and have an evacuation plan.
- Save for a rainy day – Emergencies are never convenient. Make sure that you are financially prepared for a crisis by putting away money in an emergency savings account that can be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATM’s and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel, or food.
- Make a plan – Talk with your family members and neighbors about what to do during an emergency. Set up a communication plan so that you are able to contact one another if you get separated. Establish a meeting place in your neighborhood, outside your neighborhood, and outside your town or city, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
- Build a kit – Once you know what types of emergency situations could occur near you, assemble supplies accordingly. Ideally, you should have an emergency kit at home, at work, and in your car. Include items such as food, water, medications, a medical first aid kit, blanket, and a flashlight with extra batteries.
- Stay fire safe – Be aware of appliances and devices that produce carbon monoxide inside your home. Do not use outdoor cooking appliances indoors. Ensure that your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working and know your home fire escape plan.
For more information about emergency preparedness, visit the SFMO’s website at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/prevention-data-collection/.