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Storm Camp Highlights National Preparedness Month

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September is National Preparedness Month, and the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) encourages community members of all ages to learn more about preparedness, and to plan ahead for severe weather and other emergencies. Every year, emergencies affect millions of people globally causing injuries, fatalities, economic losses and emotional stress. However, simple emergency planning and preparedness can greatly decrease those losses.

Much like adults, children should be ready to act appropriately should an emergency arise. They should feel empowered to take suitable actions and to inform adults of options if the adult has not been properly trained. Preparedness knowledge is also crucial to reduce panic and stress in emergency situations.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will hold a Storm Camp for ages four through 10 with adults on Saturday, Sept. 13, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Public Safety Headquarters located at 100 Edison Park Drive in Gaithersburg. Storm Camp is offered and conducted free-of-charge by the Montgomery County CERT, which is part of the Montgomery County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

Montgomery County is vulnerable to many different types of hazards and threats, both natural and man-made. Storm Camp is a half-day interactive educational event for adults and children designed to help you know if your family is prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Storm Camp participants will learn how to prepare their home and loved ones for emergencies large and small. They will learn how to build a Home Disaster Kit, how to prepare for and respond to a fire and common life-threatening emergencies, and how to organize a neighborhood and workplace to BE READY. While the adults are participating in this event, children will enjoy a special program of fun and learning that will turn the youngsters into “Ready Pirates” equipped with age-appropriate emergency skills. For more information and to register for Storm Camp go to the CERT website.

Through a FEMA grant, a coloring book for younger children, “Be Prepared…for Any Emergency!” and an activity book for older children, “Are you Ready?” were developed by OEMHS. They are available free-of-charge in both English and Spanish at all Montgomery County Recreation centers and public libraries. Each booklet also contains a Family Emergency Plan form to be filled out and saved for use by the family in the event of an emergency. For further information about the booklets call the county’s information 3-1-1 line or 240-777-0311.