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September is Preparedness Month in Iowa

September is Preparedness Month in Iowa
September is Preparedness Month in Iowa and across the country. Photo submitted
To The Press

September is preparedness month in Iowa, part of a nationwide effort started in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

Joyce Flinn, director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said severe weather and flooding are reminders that disasters can and do happen in our state and that everyone needs to be prepared.

“While we can’t control the weather and its impacts, we can plan ahead so we know how to survive when emergencies and disasters occur. We all have a role to play in the preparedness of ourselves, our families, our communities and our state,” Flinn said.

Iowa’s Preparedness Month is held in conjunction with National Preparedness Month, which was created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Iowa’s Preparedness Month is sponsored each year by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Iowa Emergency Management Association, the Safeguard Iowa Partnership and the National Weather Service.

Thomas Craighton, president of IEMA and Hardin County Emergency Management Director, said that while local emergency managers help to ensure responders in each county are ready for emergencies and disasters, citizens have a responsibility to be prepared, too.

“Disasters begin and end in our neighborhoods and hometowns,” said Craighton. “It’s important that citizens take responsibility for their own preparedness.”

Safeguard Iowa Partnership Executive Director Dutch Geisinger said, “Preparedness and awareness are key to helping protect our businesses, our employees, our customers, our families and ourselves.”

Kenny Podrazik, meteorologist from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Des Moines, emphasized, “Now is the time to organize, review and practice your family preparedness plan. It’s imperative you and your family know who to call, where to meet, and what to pack before the big disaster strikes. Your family plan could save lives.”

During Preparedness Month, Iowans are urged to take simple steps to ensure they are prepared. Those steps are:

• Build an emergency kit — Your emergency supply kit should have everything you need to sustain you and your family for 3-5 days; including water and non-perishable food for each person; first aid kit; money; battery-operated flashlight and radio, and extra batteries for each; extra clothing and bedding (including shoes).

Also include personal hygiene items; speciality items such as prescription medications, baby formula, diapers and pet supplies; plates, cups, utensils and a can opener; copies of important documents such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, insurance policies and financial information

• Make an emergency plan — Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is key. Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do.

Choose an out-of-town friend or relative to be a contact point for family members to call if you are separated during an emergency. Make sure everyone knows how and when to call 911 or local emergency medical services. Post emergency contact phone numbers near telephones.

Know the location of shelters and hospitals, and evacuation routes.

Prepare a list of kennels, friends and family members who may be able to care for your pet in an emergency. If you are able to take your pet to a shelter, the pet must have a current vaccination record, a pet carrier and a supply of food.

• Be aware of hazards in your area — Learn about the hazards that can affect your community and learn how to get information about current weather and road conditions.

Investing in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio is another way to receive weather and other emergency alerts, and you can program them so that you receive only the alerts for your county or specific counties.

Subscribe to RSS feed of watches, warnings and advisories in Iowa issued by the National Weather Service.

Get real-time information on current road conditions on the Iowa Department of Transportation’s 5-1-1-website, www.511ia.org, or by calling 5-1-1.

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