Emergency planning makes for faster recovery
OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — September is Emergency Preparedness Month. While it is vital for everyone to plan, prepare and stay informed about what emergencies might strike in their areas, for people who need functional support these considerations can literally mean the difference between life and death.
“The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation you do today,” said Rick Barcus, planning and grants management director at the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council. “While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, everyone can take steps to prepare for emergencies. By evaluating your own personal needs and making a plan to fit them, you and your loved ones can be ready when emergencies strike.”
Barcus suggests starting with FEMA’s online planning guide at www.ready.gov. The site walks visitors step-by-step through the various elements of an emergency plan. It explains what to do in an emergency, what to include in a plan, what you need to put in emergency kits, and how to protect your children and your business. It also has information on how to get involved in community planning.
“Emergencies come in all shapes and forms,” Barcus said. “In Oklahoma we usually think about tornadoes, but we’ve had a terrible fire season, and the last few years have shown that we are susceptible to ice storms with protracted power outages as well as severe flooding. It’s important for people to take time to plan ahead so they will know exactly what to do when the time comes and things are moving quickly.”
FEMA recommends these simple steps:
- Be informed. Know the hazards and risks in your area. Learn what you need to do to get ready for them.
- Make a family emergency plan, so you know how you would communicate with and find lived ones if a disaster hit. Be sure to understand emergency plans at your workplace, at your children’s schools or any other place where your family spends time.
- Build an emergency supply kit – both at home and in the car – including water, food, first aid supplies and medications. Be sure to include important documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank records, as well as pet supplies and a battery-powered phone charger.
- Get involved. Be an advocate and educator for safety and emergency preparedness in your community.
Be sure to include pets and service animals as part of your family’s emergency preparedness plan. For most of us, our pets are important members of our household. Service animals are an extension of a person with disabilities and perform many tasks, allowing their “person” to lead an active and inclusive life. So don’t forget to include animal supplies and medications in your emergency kits and make their health records part of your plan. In case you aren’t at home when disaster strikes, it helps to have a buddy system in place with a neighbor or friend who can care for and evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
For more information about emergency preparedness or to request resource materials, please visit www.okddc.ok.gov or contact Barcus at 405-521-4965 or toll-free, 1-800-836-4910.
About Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council: ODDC promotes quality services and programs, which enable persons with developmental disabilities to fully realize their maximum potential through independence, productivity, integration and inclusion in the communities of their choice.
SOURCE Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council