Spring forward this weekend

Take time for emergency preparedness

by Lloyd Colston, - Emergency Management Director

As clocks are being adjusted this weekend for daylight saving time, Emergency Management officials remind area residents to take some time in personal preparedness.

Daylight Savings Time is March 13 when clocks are adjusted one hour forward.

The one thing that is common to all emergencies – large and small – is their unpredictability. That’s why individual preparation is the key to protecting yourself from anything – a flash flood to a power outage to a tornado.

There are many steps individuals and families can take to prepare themselves and their homes for the affects of an unforeseen situation, and most of them can be done in a matter of minutes. For instance:

* Check and change the batteries in smoke detectors and weather radios. Replace all alarms that are more than 10 years old.

* Make sure you know where your local fire department, police station, and hospital are and post a list of emergency phone numbers posted near all the telephones in your home.

* Organize and practice a family fire drill as well as a family tornado drill.

* Fill out a Home Security Inspection Checklist and a personal Property Checklist (both available at http://www.usaonwatch.org) to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered.

* Locate the utility mains for your home and be sure you know how to turn them off manually: gas, electricity, and water.

* Call FEMA at 1-800-480-2520 or visit the Citizen Corps website (http://www.citizencorps.gov) to get a copy of “Are You Ready,” “Your Family Disaster Plan”, “Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit” and other free preparedness publications.

* Create an emergency plan for your household, including your pets.

Decide where your family will meet if a disaster does happen:

1) right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire and

2) outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home – ask an out of town friend to be your “family contact” to relay


* Prepare a 3-day disaster supply kit, complete with flashlights, batteries, blankets, and an emergency supply of water, food, and pet food and supplies.

* Plan to hold a Neighborhood Watch meeting . Your local Sheriffs’. office or Police Department can help you get started or visit http://www.ncpc.org/topics/home-and-neighborhood-safety/neighborhood-watch for more information.

* Join or create a Community Emergency Response Team for your Neighborhood. http://www.ok.gov/homeland/Citizen_Corps/CERT/ gives details.

* Plan to sign up for a first aid training course. Call your local American Red Cross chapter or National Safety Council to ask about courses in your area (http://www.redcross.org or http://www.nsc.org).

* Visit with your neighbors and discuss how you would handle a disaster in your area. Talk to neighbors with special needs and help them become safer too.

Most of these ideas can be accomplished in a few minutes, but the dividends they could pay during an emergency situation

are enormous.

For more information regarding Emergency Management, call Wayne Cain, Jackson County Emergency Manager at 580-482-0229 or Lloyd Colston, Altus Emergency Manager at 580-481-2260. On can also visit http://altusem.blogspot.com on the Internet.

Take time for emergency preparedness

by Lloyd Colston,

Emergency Management Director

Reach Lloyd Colston at colstonl@gmail.com

Reach Lloyd Colston at colstonl@gmail.com

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