Make sure you're prepared for an emergency

By the Central Michigan District Health Department

OSCEOLA COUNTY — It's always a good idea to prepare for an emergency.

Four simple steps, recommended by the Ready campaign, can help you, your family and your community in the event of an emergency. America’s PrepareAthonTM, builds upon this campaign, encouraging Americans to prepare for specific hazards through group discussions, drills and exercises.

Stay Informed: Many websites offer information on local hazards here in Michigan and across the United States. Helpful websites include: Ready Campaign (ready.gov), The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services preparedness site (michigan.gov/michiganprepares), American Red Cross (redcross.org), FEMA (community.fema.gov), and Central Michigan District Health Department (cmdhd.org). Sign up for emergency alerts through your local Emergency Management office.

Make a Plan: What is your family emergency plan? Do you have enough items to last for three days without power, if necessary? Remember to plan for both your pets and those with special medical needs. Businesses also should have a plan. Have you practiced any drills in the last year both at home and at work? The “Do 1 Thing” campaign (do1thing.com) is a wonderful resource for individuals and businesses. Following just a few simple steps each month will help create a plan by the end of one year.

Build a Kit: When creating an emergency supply kit, begin by stocking enough items in your kit to last for three days. Items to place in your emergency supply kit may include: a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery powered radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a map of the area that indicates roadways and rivers, which may aid in evacuation, a compass, a whistle to signal for help, cash (ATM and banks may not work), a utility knife (no exposed blades), matches in a waterproof container, a change of clothes for each person, a sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person, food (canned food and a can opener, dry food that will not expire), a gallon of water per person per day, pet food, prescription medications, copies of birth certificates, passports, licenses, wills and a list of phone numbers of relatives or emergency contacts. It is suggested that you create an emergency supply kit for your house, one that you can easily take with you if you have to evacuate and go to a shelter or a safe location; and one for your place of business.

Get Involved: Being involved is the last step to being prepared. Become involved in local efforts in your community by becoming a member of your local Citizens Corps (citizencorps.gov). In Michigan, you can also become a registered volunteer through the Michigan Volunteer Registry (mivolunteerregistry.org.). Organizations such as these provide opportunities to participate in drills, trainings and exercises.