“Emergencies can strike at any time, from natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes to chemical spills or catastrophic accidents,” he said in a statement. “Emergencies by their very nature often happen suddenly and without warning, which makes it that much more important for you and your family to be prepared in the event of any emergency situation.”
Ash advised constituents to employ a three-point strategy – have a plan, make a kit and get involved.
“The first step is to have a plan in place, so you know what to do in the event of an emergency. To formulate a plan, ask the important questions,” he said about how to contact family members or employees, how to find out if they are safe and what to do if utilities are cut off.
Second, have an emergency supply kit with all of the necessary items for at least three days, such as food, water and medications.
Plan on a gallon of water per person per day for drinking and washing, plus additional for pets.
Store non-perishable food items like protein bars or fruit and grain bars, canned foods, dry cereal, nuts, peanut butter, crackers, juices, shelf-stable milk plus baby and pet food if applicable.
“It’s a good idea to have a financial emergency kit as well, with copies of all of your important financial documents,” Ash said about insurance policies, bank account records, backup files and photos of insured items, housed in a waterproof, fireproof, portable container.
Other items for a kit include medications, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, flashlight, a whistle to signal for help, dust mask or cotton T-shirt to help filter the air, bathroom tissue, moist towelettes for sanitation, scissors, a utility knife, plastic sheeting, duct tape, garbage bags and plastic ties.
“It’s a good idea to pack some comfort items, such as a deck of cards, books, paper and pens as well as a change of clothes for each member of the family,” Ash said.
He said another kit essential is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio and recommended registering for the county’s reverse notification system to get phone or email notice of impending emergencies.
“We know that early warning saves lives,” Ash said.
Third, county spokeswoman Melissa Robinson said constituents can become involved in community emergency preparations.
“In Henry County, the best way to become involved is through the Community Emergency Response Team training, which promotes a partnership between emergency management and response agencies and the people in the community that they serve,” she said in a statement.
The goal, she said, is to train members of neighborhoods, schools, churches and workplaces in basic response skills.
“The CERT teams are formed and maintained as part of the emergency response capability for their area,” Robinson said. “When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site.”
She said state resources, online at www.ready.gov, can also be accessed to prepare for the unexpected.
“The Georgia Emergency Management Agency Ready Georgia program offers the necessary tools to develop a communications plan, make an emergency supply kit and stay informed about potential threats and how you can get involved in your community to help during a disaster,” Robinson said.
Information: (770) 288-7877, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.henrycounty-ga.com