Weather can be dangerous and the entire nation has felt the pains of its impact over the years, from hurricanes or flooding in the East, or the record heat and relentless wildfires in the West. This weather activity shows us that disasters can AND do happen anytime and everywhere! September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, so we encourage everyone to be prepared and take the opportunity this month to make sure your families have a plan in place for emergencies that could happen in our area.
American Falls is a great community and can tackle small disasters. Our local emergency responders do an amazing job, with limited resources, in dealing with different situations from an area gas leak to fires or blizzards. They do a great job to help save life and property for our community, but they cannot do it alone. We all need to do our part to be more self-reliant and be asking the question, “Is my family prepared with supplies and a plan if a disaster happens in our area and we had to leave our home?” It’s difficult to anticipate any and every situation that could happen, but we should all be prepared for some of the more likely disasters in our community. According to the State of Idaho Hazard Mitigation Plan, the three most likely hazards that Idahoans face are floods, wildfires, and severe storms followed by landslide, drought, dam/canal failures, and earthquakes.
Families should start preparing by making a disaster communication plan. Make sure all adults, caregivers, and kids know numbers to call and where to go during emergencies and back-up locations if home is not an option. Families should also prepare by assembling an emergency kit and have it ready to go. You will generally not have time to gather or shop for items you need during an emergency, so have your kits assembled well ahead of time. A proper disaster kit should be mobile and have enough basic food, water, and supplies to get your family through the first 72-hours of an emergency. After a disaster, service outages can occur for an extended time so be prepared to handle these interruptions.
The website www.ready.gov has great information on different disaster types and emergency planning for you and your family to prepare. Most experts warn that disaster kits can be expensive to put together, but the protection and peace of mind is well worth the cost. If you slowly build your kit a little each month then the costs can be easier to manage. It is also important that your kit is mobile, such as using backpacks, in case you need to leave your home. Once your disaster kit is in place, remember to check it periodically and keep it up-to-date and accessible to gather your supplies at a moment’s notice.
In the middle of a disaster or even just a power outage, no one likes running around thinking, “Where did I put those flashlights and batteries? What do I do if the power doesn’t come back on soon? And I wish I had charged my phone more!” Take this month as a good wake up call to either start that family disaster plan or check your existing emergency kits to make sure you are ready. Mother Nature will continue to test our preparedness and resolve, so use this opportunity to show her you’re ready!