The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published their 2018-2022 Strategic Plan on March 15th. FEMA’s plan, “seeks to unify and further professionalize emergency management across the Nation and we invite the whole community to join us in embracing these priorities,” with three ambitious, but achievable, goals for 2018-2022. The Strategic Goals are focused on FEMA’s Vision – a prepared and resilient Nation.
Know your risks
Objective #3 of Strategic Goal 1 is, “Help people prepare for disaster.” Being Prepared and having a disaster plan is useful in any emergency situation. A critical first step to preparedness is to understand the hazards in our communities and to learn about local alerts and warning systems, evacuation routes, and sheltering plans. In our region, severe storms account for 49% of the regions presidential disaster Declaration between Dec 1964 to Dec 2013. Severe Storms were followed by flooding (32%) and tornado (29%). A year ago, our community was hit with a record setting weather related event: Wind gust of over 60 mph caused power outages to more that 1 million people. Many people were without heat as the temperatures dropped into the 20s.
Regardless of the type of disaster, important elements of disaster preparedness include:
- Having the skills to evaluate the situation quickly and to take effective action to protect yourself and your family
- Having a family disaster plan and practicing the plan with drills
- Assembling supplies in multiple locations
- Reducing the impact of hazards through mitigation practices
- Getting involved by participating in training and volunteer programs
Knowing the risks to your community is important when planning for a disaster. Also, It is also always important to address your and your family specific needs, such as medications, child care, considerations for pets and service animals, and transportation — to name a few.
Weather related risks are the most likely for our area; however, Weather related risks aren’t the only risks. Hazards are categorized three ways: natural, technological, and intentional. Technological disasters are hazardous material spills, nuclear power plant accidents, etc, and intention (or man-made) can happen as a result of terrorism.
In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, needs are often greater than professional emergency services personnel can provide. This is why it’s so important to be prepared with a 72-hour emergency kit. Your kit should include all of the essentials needed for you to survive when you have no other options.
More information on preparedness is available at: