Woodstock city officials urge all citizens and businesses to make or update a disaster plan during the month of September, which has been declared Natural Preparedness Month by the Department of Homeland Security.
As we continue to respond to COVID-19, there’s no better time to update your plan. You can find resources to help you at ready.gov. The Department of Homeland Security suggests weekly activities to do this month, so that you are ready for whatever comes.
Woodstock Fire and Rescue recommends that you take time in September to check the batteries in your smoke detectors. Having multiple smoke detectors in your home may reduce the time it takes for smoke to activate the alarm. Also, check your fire extinguishers, making sure they are visible, unobstructed, and have no signs of damage, corrosion or leakage.
Finally, take time to learn more from the American Red Cross at redcross.org. You can sign up to receive preparedness times, get involved as a volunteer, and shop in the online store for emergency preparedness gear and first aid kits.
Week 1: Sept. 1-5
Make a plan for your household by discussing how you will receive emergency alerts, what you will do to shelter in place, or evacuate if necessary, how you will communicate with loved ones, and what you need for an emergency preparedness kit. There is a link to a very thorough template at ready.gov on the National Preparedness Month page. You can complete the document and make copies to keep in cars, purses or backpacks, so each member of your household can refer to it in the event of an emergency.
Week 2: Sept. 6-12
Build your kit. Gather what you will need to stay at home or evacuate to a safer location in the event of an emergency. Ready.gov lists recommended items for a basic emergency supply kit. You need one gallon of water per person per day, for at least three days, for drinking and hygiene, as well as a three-day supply of food. Don’t forget pets’ needs for food and water.
Other items recommended include first aid kits, dust masks, plastic sheeting and duct tape. It’s suggested that you keep important family documents, like insurance policies, identification and bank records, saved electronically, or in a waterproof, portable container.
Week 3: Sept. 13-19
Limit the impact a disaster may have on your household. Think about the potential for major storm damage. Make sure your homeowners or renters insurance policy covers all of your needs. Sign up to receive emergency alerts. If you click STAY CONNECTED on woodstockga.gov, you will find a link to sign up for Cherokee Sheriff’s Office updates through CodeRED.
Week 4: Sept. 20-26
Teach your children about preparedness. There are resources for kids, teens, families and educators on ready.gov, including information on coping when disaster strikes, and financial preparedness. There are also resources available in Spanish.
By Stacy Brown, the marketing and communications manager for the city of Woodstock.