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There’s no such thing as a calm season when it comes to natural disasters.
Late summer and fall are peak hurricane season in North Carolina, while tornadoes tend to strike most often in spring and late fall. Snow and ice storms can wreak havoc from December through March depending on which part of the state you are in. And severe thunderstorms and floods can – and have – occur year-round.
Unfortunately, it’s not just severe weather that can cause problems. A public disturbance, chemical spill or explosion could happen at any time, causing an emergency in Rowan County.
Do you know what to do? Do you have a plan in place? Do you know who to call or where to go?
Rowan County Health Department wants residents to know that the best way to protect your family is be aware and prepare, so it is observing September as North Carolina Preparedness Month to encourage residents to become better prepared for any type of emergency. Taking four easy steps can help protect your family when an emergency strikes: 1) make a plan, 2) discuss and practice your plan with your family, 3) build an emergency supplies kit, and 4) stay informed.
Making a plan only takes a few minutes. Just record what you need to do, where to go and how to get in touch with family members. Include any special considerations for older adults, people with functional needs and/or pets. Also include the location of your emergency kit. Mold your plan to your family’s needs. Be sure to include phone numbers of each family member, a number for a pre-assigned out-of-state contact who can keep track of family members, and an ‘in case of emergency’ contact for emergency personnel to use. Choose a meeting place where all family members can meet during emergencies.
Now is the time to review and update your plan, if you have one, and discuss it with your family. Don’t forget to practice it! Don’t wait for an emergency to occur to figure out what you need to do.
An emergency supplies kit should contain enough non-perishable food and bottled water (1 gallon per person per day) to last three to seven days. Kits also should include: copies of insurance papers and identification, first aid kit, weather radio and batteries, prescription medicines, bedding, weather-appropriate clothing, hygiene items, cash, and supplies for any household pets. A complete list of kit items can be found at www.ReadyNC.org.
Stay informed by learning about the risks in your area, such as if you live in low-lying or floodplain area. Learn what to do before, during and after different types of emergencies. And listen to local media when severe weather threatens.
Find more information on emergency preparedness at www.readyrowan.org or www.ReadyNC.org. Rowan County emergency officials also urge residents to get the free ReadyNC mobile app, which provides real-time weather and traffic conditions for all parts of North Carolina. The NC Public Health Preparedness and Response Branch also has resources and information that North Carolinians can use to prepare for an emergency, and can be found at http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/phpr/individuals.html. Remember, disasters don’t plan ahead, you can!