• Army reminds all to be prepared

  • September is National Preparedness Month, and Ready Army, the Army's proactive community awareness campaign, is underway. Ready Army empowers soldiers, their families and Army civilians to prepare for all hazard emergencies.

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  • From Ready Army releases
    September is National Preparedness Month, and Ready Army, the Army’s proactive community awareness campaign, is underway. Ready Army empowers soldiers, their families and Army civilians to prepare for all hazard emergencies. Through outreach and education, Ready Army calls the Army community to action and aims to create a culture of preparedness that will save lives and strengthen the nation.
    There are a range of natural and man-made hazards that could affect you, and emergencies often leave little or no time to react. When emergencies occur, military and civilian organizations respond, but it takes time to mobilize, and they focus on the most critical needs first.
    Emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. Ready Army provides the toolkit and standardized checklists for emergency preparedness at home and abroad. When soldiers, their families and Army civilians know what to do when an emergency strikes, it saves time, property and — most importantly — lives.
    Preparedness increases the resilience of the Army and supports overall installation and force readiness. It mitigates the effects of an emergency, aids recovery, and is a time and resource multiplier for emergency first responders and medical first receivers. The health of the entire force, including families, is important to the Army’s strength and victory over America’s adversaries.
    Ultimately, Ready Army supports soldiers and families and strengthens the nation. Preparing for tomorrow’s hazards is a readiness issue; readiness allows soldiers to stay properly focused on their mission.
    Four steps can help you and your family prepare for all hazards: Be Informed. Make a Plan. Build a Kit. Get Involved.
    Be Informed — Emergencies can arise from weather and other natural hazards, industrial and transportation accidents, disease epidemics and terrorist acts.
    Anticipate the emergencies most likely to affect you and your family in your geographical location. Knowing what to do can make all the difference when seconds count.
    In this era of persistent conflict, you must identify and learn about all hazards that could affect you and your family. Emergencies can arise from weather and other natural hazards, industrial and transportation accidents, disease epidemic and terrorist acts. In many cases, the same protective alternatives apply: temporarily shelter-in-place, evacuate, or move to a civilian shelter or designated safe haven. Knowing what to do can make all the difference when seconds count. Anticipate possible emergencies and know the appropriate response measures and local evacuation routes. Learn about related procedures, including mass warning and notification and the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System.
    Make a Plan — Make and practice your family emergency plan. You and your family members may not be together when an emergency strikes. Planning ahead for various emergencies will improve your chances of keeping in touch, staying safe and quickly reuniting. Your family emergency plan and emergency kits will be useful regardless of the hazard.
    Page 2 of 3 - Creating an emergency plan is a family activity. Open a family dialogue about preparedness and include all members in your preparedness planning.
    Consider special needs and pets. If you require medical assistance or special transportation for your family or pets, contact your local emergency manager before an emergency for advice. Choose a contact person living elsewhere whom you and your family can contact if an emergency strikes when you are separated.
    Think about all the places you and your family may be throughout the day, such as home, office, school or in transit. Establish plans for evacuation and meeting places. Discuss when to use your plans.
    Build a Kit — Assemble a collection of first aid supplies, food, water, medicines and important papers to sustain you and your family until a crisis passes. Consider the unique needs of your family and pets, then assemble emergency supply kits in your home, car and workplace.
    An emergency kit should include enough supplies to meet your family’s essential needs for at least three days.
    Get Involved — Prepared people build stronger communities. In an emergency, you may be in a position to provide help to not only your family, but to those in your community.
    Learn how to receive training, how to volunteer, and how to share your knowledge and skills with others.
    Q: What items should I put in my emergency kit?
    A: For an emergency kit, collect enough supplies to last for at least three days. Keep a kit prepared at home, and consider also having kits in your car and at work and a portable version in your home ready to take with you. These kits will enable you and your family to respond to an emergency more quickly, whether you have to shelter-in-place or evacuate. Also take into consideration whether your area is likely to face a specific threat, and purchase items accordingly. For a list of suggested items, download the Emergency Kit Fact Sheet at http://ready.army.mil/
    Q: What is a family emergency plan? How do I make one?
    A: Your family also should have a plan for who you will call and where you will go if there is an emergency. When creating a family emergency plan, consider the range of potential emergencies and all the places you and your family might be. Talk to your children about what will happen if they are in school at the time of the emergency, and make sure they understand where you intend to be.
    Army families, in particular, need to know what to do if an emergency occurs, particularly when their soldier is deployed. In case you can’t reach each other directly by phone or e-mail, have an out-of-state friend or relative you can both contact to leave word that you’re OK and learn the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System to ensure you are ready to report your status. Soldiers downrange need the peace of mind that their family is safe so they can focus on their mission at hand.
    Page 3 of 3 - Discuss your plan with the family and set up practice evacuations or shelter-in-place drills to ensure everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency.
    Recommended information for a family emergency plan can be found at http://ready.army.mil/ra_readiness.htm#family.
    Q: I have pets. How can I prepare for them in an emergency?
    A: When you and your family consider plans and provisions for emergencies, be sure to take your pets and other animals into account. Creatures that rely on us in the best of times can’t help themselves when disaster strikes. Good advance planning could prevent tragedy, worry and the risks you or others might take to affect a rescue.
    Know in advance how you will handle your pets if you need to evacuate. Your emergency supply kit should also contain provisions for pets, including food and water, a strong leash, a carrier and veterinary records. Make sure your pets’ identification tags are up to date and secured on their collars, and consider microchipping your pets. If you have advance warning of an emergency, add a tag with your evacuation information.
    Q: What does shelter-in-place mean?
    A: Sheltering-in-place means to take temporary protection in a structure or vehicle that is not certified, insured or staffed for emergency conditions. Installation procedures designate which office or party will order personnel to shelter-in-place and for how long the order stays in effect.
    Preparing to shelter-in-place involves having an emergency kit, being able to turn off heating and ventilation systems quickly and identifying potential interior spaces for sheltering-in-place. Notification of an emergency may be through a voice announcing system, announcements through cellular phones or e-mail, or an Emergency Alert System broadcast over radio or television.
    The best way to be prepared for all emergencies is to play it smart. Preparing for emergencies doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, but it does bring peace of mind.
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