Military News

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

National Preparedness Month kicks off

by Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


9/2/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Americans are encouraged to prepare and plan for natural and man-made disasters this September as the Federal Emergency Management Agency celebrates National Preparedness Month and kicks off the America's PrepareAthon! campaign.

The campaign focuses on a different emergency planning message each week throughout the month. The Schriever Emergency Management office has tailored the campaign to meet the specific needs of the base, removing the focus on hurricanes and power outages and replacing them with tornadoes and active shooter themes.

"[We're here] to make sure the base is prepared to handle any disaster, man-made or natural," said Senior Airman La Kirsten Burton, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency management specialist. "We're here so everyone can be prepared. Some people may not know what to do."

The five-week campaign will focus on creating emergency plans for floods, wildfires, tornadoes, active shooters and winter weather.

"You do different things in a tornado than a fire," said Staff Sgt. Ramon Trejo, 50 CES NCOIC readiness and emergency management. "Practice what you do in each situation and who you'd call if need be."

While each disaster has its own method of preparation, two common factors are to have an emergency plan and put together an emergency kit.

"We tell people to have three days' worth of supplies to include water, canned goods, a can opener, flashlight and extra batteries, portable radio with extra batteries and any prescription medications," Burton said. "Keep the supply kit where you can easily grab it and be out the door or take it to your shelter location."

According to ready.gov, some other items to include in an emergency kit are a first aid kit, whistle, local maps, cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger, wrench or pliers and moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

In addition to having an emergency kit supplied and easily accessible, having a plan, both for evacuation and communication, is another critical element to preparedness. AP! Preparedness guides suggest considering the "Five Ps of Evacuation" when making an evacuation plan. The Five Ps of Evacuation include people, prescriptions, papers, personal needs and priceless items.

Burton said families should plan both what they're going to take with them, as well as evacuations.

"Ensure kids know the primary and alternate location," Burton said.

Part of the evacuation plan should also include having a contact, preferably one who lives out-of-state, to be called in case the family is unable to evacuate together, ready.gov says. Additionally, kids should have ready access to the contact numbers for emergency services.

"[Kids] need to know the contact numbers of emergency services and other relatives," she said. "Keep it on the fridge so they know where to get them."

Because the amount of time families will have to evacuate can vary based on the disaster, they should be sure to know and practice their evacuation plan, Burton said.

"Practice your plan. [Evacuation notice] can be as short as five to 10 minutes," Burton said. "During the Waldo Canyon Fire, they had five to 10 minutes to get their stuff and get out of the house."

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