As the potential for a tropical depression of the remains of what is now Hurricane Hermine makes its way toward the Montgomery County, with the possibility of impacting the area over the Labor Day weekend, the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security reminds residents that September is National Preparedness Month.
The theme for 2016 is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”
In recognition of the importance of advance planning for emergencies, the County’s OEMHS, the Montgomery County Police Department and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service have collaborated to offer a series of free Community Emergency Preparedness classes.
In the Germantown area the Emergency Preparedness class will take place on September 21 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Upcounty Regional Services Center in Germantown.
Other classes will take place the day before on September 19 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building and on September 24 from 10:00 am to noon the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg. For further information and required pre-registration go to the County’s Emergency Preparedness Class webpage.
Throughout the month of September, our community members are urged to take action now to be prepared for eventual emergencies. Planning strategies should be in place for family and pets, as well as the workplace and the greater community.
The following is an easy-to-follow planning guideline:
1. Stay Informed: Know what kind of hazards you’re susceptible to, and how to get information about emergencies that are occurring in your area. Montgomery County offers Alert Montgomery emergency messaging, which sends emails and texts to your cell phone so that you can be informed about severe weather, traffic disruptions, power outages, and floods, among other events. Sign up for Alert Montgomery by clicking here.
2. Make a plan: Take some time to figure out how you are going to reach your family in times of disaster. Do you have an in-town contact, as well as an out-of-town contact? This is important because it may be easier to reach someone out of town during an emergency because of overloaded phone lines in the affected area. Also have two places to meet your family and loved ones in case you need to evacuate. One outside your home in a safe location, and one outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home. Be sure your plan has considerations for children, older adults, pets, and those with access and functional needs, if needed. More information about making a plan can be found here.
3. Make a Kit: Think about what you’ll need for basic survival, and make an emergency supply kit to have readily available in case you need to evacuate or shelter in place. Items that should be in your kit include: water, batteries, flashlight, food, clothes and shoes, can opener, hygiene products, medication, and others. For a more complete list, click here.
4. Get Involved: Finally, help others to be prepared, once you have your items and plan ready. Contact older relatives, neighbors, and friends to assist them in getting prepared, and also check on them after an event. Support neighborhood associations that are involved in emergency response, or better yet, join an emergency volunteer association, or get training on CPR and first aid. Information about some of these groups can be found here.
File Photo by Germantown Pulse