Lexington, Kentucky is launching its National Preparedness Month campaign for September, as part of a nationwide effort, with the theme, “Prepared, Not Scared – Be Ready for Disasters.” The goal is to remind residents to take personal action “now” to prepare throughout the year for any emergency that may arise.
“We continue to see emergencies and disasters occurring more frequently throughout the region with greater severity than ever before,” said Pat Dugger, the director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management. “Fayette County residents should think about what they would do if they found themselves in an emergency circumstance from a power outage that lasts several hours to a tornado or another paralyzing ice storm.
“By taking small steps to prepare an emergency communications plan, assemble necessary items into an emergency kit, or obtain basic disaster skills training through our free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program, our community can build resilience and be more prepared overall for a disaster.”
Lexington Emergency Management will have displays and information exhibits at libraries and other public places. Additionally, residents will hear and see reminders of how to be prepared on billboards, websites, social media, and local radio stations.
National Preparedness Month is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security, and it’s part of a governmental effort to strengthen the United States’ preparedness capabilities, whether a terrorist attack strikes or a natural disaster hits. Many federal and state government agencies participate in National Preparedness Month every year.
Each week in September will have a specific theme and point of emphasis.
- Save Early for Disaster Costs – September 1-7
Include cash in your emergency kits as during power outages, since debit and credit cards may not work for purchases. If you live in a flood-prone area, make sure your flood insurance is current. If you don’t have flood insurance, investigate getting it from an insurance provider. Homeowners or renters insurance is important. Insurance is your first line of defense, which is why you should check your insurance coverage, and review your policy. You should also gather all financial and critical personal, household and medical information and store it in a safe, yet easily accessible place.
- Make a Plan and Practice for Disasters – September 8 – 14Start by making an emergency plan with everyone in the home. Visit BeReadyLexington.com/make-a-plan and review our templates for a personal and family emergency plan. Put together a plan by discussing four different questions with your family, friends, or household to begin your emergency plan. Discuss how you will receive emergency alerts and warnings, what your shelter plan is, your evacuation route, and the household communication plan.
It’s best to practice your escape plan with your family, including animals, at least twice a year. Update the plan, so you are fully prepared when disaster strikes.
An important part of any emergency plan is to have an out-of-town emergency contact. This is the person you can call or text to let others know “you’re OK.”
- Teach Your Children to Be Prepared – September 15-21
Children – even at a very early age – can help the family prepare for emergencies. Parents can work with young children to put together a personal backpack emergency kit with at least one change of clothing, shoes, soap and a toothbrush and toothpaste and a towel. Add in some toys, books, and games that don’t need batteries, and they’re good for a day or two.Elementary school-age children can begin to learn the different types of emergencies and disasters and what they can do to be prepared. Everyone should know the name and phone number of an out-of-town emergency contact. Children should know when to do in case a fire or smoke alarm goes off in their home and where to meet up with other family members when they get outside.
Older children can help put together a family emergency kit. They should know how to turn off the water supply, natural gas supply and electric breakers in the house. If they have a mobile phone, they should know how to keep it charged and have a battery backup charger close at hand.
- Get Involved in Your Community’s Preparedness – September 22 – 30
Personal preparedness is the foundation of community preparedness. Knowing what steps to take in an emergency can help you preserve lives and property until professional responders arrive – and self-reliance and self-confidence are never bad qualities to have. DEM and our partner agencies offer several ways to become involved in local preparedness activities or to receive low-cost or free training.
Lexington Emergency Management offers a twice-yearly Community Emergency Response Team training. During the nine classes, volunteers learn first aid, basic search and rescue techniques, fire suppression, disaster psychology, and team organization. Other activities in Fayette County include the Citizens Police Academy, Citizens Fire Academy and the Local Emergency Preparedness Committee. The American Red Cross offers CPR and first aid classes as well. More information about all of these and other activities is available at www.BeReadyLexington.com/get-involved.
Lexington Emergency Management has many ways for residents to connect with agency emergency and preparedness information. LEXALERTS allows residents to register their cell phone, home phone and email to receive alerts about community emergencies, severe weather events and other events such as shelter-in-place or evacuation orders. The DEAFLINK service provides emergency messaging for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in the form of videos that provide messaging in American Sign Language. The BeReadyLexington mobile app gives Android and iPhone users access to the latest preparedness and emergency notifications. More information about these services is available from the BeReadyLexington.com website.
Preparedness information is also available via the Lexington Emergency Management Facebook page: @LexingtonKYEM and the Division of Emergency Management Twitter account: @Lexkyem.