In the past two years, many Virginians have been affected by natural disasters including the earthquake in Mineral, hurricanes Irene and Sandy, Tropical Storm Lee, many winter storms and the severe derecho wind storm which struck Central Virginia in June 2012.
According to Melissa Foster, Deputy Director of the Department of Emergency Services for the City of Lynchburg, "When putting together an emergency plan, it is essential that citizens also think about their family members who may have health problems that require special medical equipment or additional medications. Planning ahead could prevent a bad situation from becoming a tragedy."
At Ready.gov, families and individuals can learn more about National Preparedness Month and join the national committee of people who have pledged to prepare in September.
You should plan as though you will be without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or other local services for at least three days.
A free emergency plan worksheet and emergency supply list can be downloaded at ReadyVirginia.gov. You can also download the Ready Virginia app from the App Store and Google Play. Follow these steps to be ready for any emergency:
Make a plan. Make sure everyone in the family knows where to go and what to do. Update your contact information and post it in visible places in your home and workplace.
Set aside emergency supplies. Don't wait for a storm to prepare. Buy preparedness items throughout the year instead of all at once. Shop at sales and used goods stores. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget. If you don't have emergency supplies, September is a good time to get started.
Store water. You don't need expensive bottled water. Just make sure that your water containers are disinfected and airtight. Have at least a three-day supply of water on hand. Your supply should include one gallon per person per day.
Check your policy. Review your insurance policy during National Preparedness Month. Talk with your agent to make any necessary changes or updates. Consider adding flood insurance since most policies don't include this coverage. Visit FloodSmart.gov for more information about flood insurance, which is available for homeowners and renters.
Stay informed. Stay updated about changing weather conditions by monitoring local media reports. Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio with a weather band so you can hear emergency information when the power is out.
Don't get caught off guard. Plan ahead for emergencies during National Preparedness Month.