12:43pm

Wed August 29, 2012
The Commonwealth

Beshear Declares September as Preparedness Month

FRANKFORT – In conjunction with National Preparedness Month, Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed September as Commonwealth of Kentucky Preparedness Month. “Kentuckians face challenges throughout the year, from tornadoes, flooding, winter storms to man-made hazards,” Beshear said in a statement release by his office. “During my term alone, Kentucky has endured 11 presidentially declared disasters. Every household should be prepared to face these challenges at any given time, which is why I have proclaimed September as Commonwealth of Kentucky Preparedness Month.”

The severe weather and tornadoes that struck Kentucky in early spring destroyed parts of West Liberty and inflicted severe damage on Salyersville, London and dozens of communities. Those storms were also responsible for the deaths of 25 Kentuckians and scores of injuries. Hundreds of homes, businesses and public buildings were damaged or destroyed.

“We urge Kentuckians to be prepared for any unforeseen emergency or disaster,” Gene Kiser, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, said. “Supplies such as water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, radios, and first-aid kits are easy to store and can be lifesavers when a crisis occurs. A communications plan with family, friends and neighbors is also an important part in being prepared. As we have all witnessed in the past few years, emergency situations can happen any time, any place, so it is wise to be prepared.”

Although state and local governments are ready to assist the public during times of emergencies and disasters, preparedness starts at home, said John Heltzel, director of Kentucky Emergency Management.

“In the event of large scale disasters, it may take time to respond immediately,” Heltzel said. “The flooding of 2011 and tornadoes of February and March of this year have taught us many valuable lessons. One of the most important is the value of individual and family preparedness.”

Heltzel said educating and preparing citizens is important, which is why Gov. Beshear, Kentucky Homeland Security and Kentucky Emergency Management are joining together to offer preparedness tips.

PLANNING FOR DISASTER:

Be Aware:
• Know in advance your weather forecasts.
• Stay tuned to your local broadcasting stations.
• Discuss conditions with family members and know their location during times of known potentially
threatening conditions.

Be Prepared:
• Discuss known risks with family members and neighbors.
• Develop and review your emergency plan periodically for necessary updates.
• Refresh your emergency kit(s) periodically. A kit should have enough food, water and medications for
five days.
• Drill: practice your plan with household members.

Have a plan:
• Utilities - Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.) • Shelter - Identify safe locations within your residence.
• Contacts - Written contact information for relatives, neighbors, utility companies, employers/employees and local emergency contact telephone numbers.
• Evacuate - Predetermine evacuation routes. Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose
several places, such as a friend or relative's home in another town, a motel or shelter.
• Children - Make back-up plans for children in case you (or they) can’t get home in an emergency
• Vehicles - Keep jumper cables in vehicle at all times. Maintain a half tank of fuel in vehicles. Move vehicles from under trees during possible wind events. Keep an emergency kit in the vehicle. During winter months, keep a blanket and bag of kitty litter in the trunk
• Medications - prepare a list of all prescription drugs
• Share your plan with others. It is recommended to include sharing it with contacts in another region or
even another state.

Make a kit:
• First aid kit and essential medications (to include prescription medicines).
• Canned food and can opener
• At least three gallons of water per person
• Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags.
• Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
• Waterproof matches and candles
• Local phone book
• Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
• Extra set of car keys

For additional information please visit www.ready.gov and Kentucky Emergency Management’s website at www.kyem.ky.gov.