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National Preparedness Month

Power outages, hurricanes, floods, or snow storms – it’s important to plan ahead for emergencies. And because the Commonwealth designates September “National Preparedness Month,” there’s no better time to start than now.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) have partnered together to launch two public information programs to help residents be ready for emergencies and disasters.

Ready Massachusetts

A counterpart to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) national Ready campaign, MEMA’s Ready Massachusetts program empowers Bay State residents to prepare for and respond to natural, technological, and man-made disasters. There are four key things Massachusetts residents can do to prepare for such emergencies:

  1. Be Informed – Know when specific emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and winter storms may occur by paying attention to severe weather watches and warnings. These watches and warnings can be obtained from:

o   local media sources;

o   the National Weather Service;

o   the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio; or,

o   emergency information on your cellphone.

  1. Make a Plan – Prepare a designated communications plans for your home in case of emergency or disasters.

o   Create a plan to shelter in place as well as a plan to evacuate to keep safe whether you “stay” or “go.”

o   Have predetermined meeting locations that your family and/or friends know.

o   Identify an out-of-state contact for household members to notify that they are safe.

  1. Build an Emergency Kit – Every home and business should have a basic emergency supply kit ready for any emergency, at any time of year. Make or print out an Emergency Kit Checklist to use as you assemble your kit. Include the following basic necessities:

o   bottled water;

o   food;

o   flashlights;

o   battery-powered radio;

o   extra batteries;

o   a first aid kit; and,

o   candles.

  1. Get Involved – Disaster preparedness, response, and recovery takes the whole community to be effective. Support the cause by:

o   Volunteering with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit, or other Citizen Corps Partner programs or affiliate organizations.

o   Getting trained in CPR, basic first-aid, or a local fire department volunteer support position.

Together We’re Ready

DPH’s Together We’re Ready campaign encourages Massachusetts communities to prepare for public health emergencies as well as severe weather and natural disasters. Together We’re Ready focuses on four key areas:

  1. Get Ready – Prepare yourself and your families in case of emergency or disaster. Develop a Family Emergency Plan or sign up for emergency alerts on your cell phone.
  2. Get Involved – Volunteer with emergency response efforts in your community.
  3. We’re All in This Together – Take additional steps planning if you or someone close to you has a disability or other access and functional needs. Think about your health needs, vulnerabilities, and capabilities when you make your emergency preparedness plan.
  4. Get Vaccinated – Help fight the flu by remembering to get a yearly flu shot at a local health center or school-based flu vaccination clinic. Be sure to practice safe handwashing techniques and cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent the spread of colds and flu.

Massachusetts residents can help ensure safety by preparing for potential emergencies ahead of time. Get ready and get involved today!

How does your household prepare for an emergency? Share your tips or plans in the comments below or by tweeting @MassGov.

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