A message from John W. Heltzel, director of Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM): "Although state and local governments are ready to assist the public during times of emergencies and disasters, preparedness starts at home. In the event of large scale disasters, it may take time to respond immediately,"
He continued, "The severe weather and tornadoes that destroyed much of West Liberty, KY. last March and other disasters have taught us many valuable lessons which we continue to learn from. One of the most important is the value of individual and family preparedness."
If the lights go out, are you prepared? That is a simple but necessary question that we must all ask ourselves. In the event of a power outage something as simple as having a flashlight, radio and extra batteries available can make you and your family more comfortable during these times.
Kentuckians face many weather related challenges throughout the year, from tornadoes, flooding, straight line winds, lightning and winter storms. Every household should be prepared to face these challenges at any given time.
During Governor Beshear’s administrations, Kentucky has received eleven presidentially declared federal disasters. (Ranking us near the top nationwide, all which were weather related)
February 29 and March 2, 2012 severe storms and deadly tornadoes tore through Kentucky, leaving 25 dead and thousands of home, business and public buildings damaged or destroyed. In May 2011 Kentuckians experienced unprecedented flooding and many families are still rebuilding from flash floods that struck Eastern Kentucky in July 2010. Who will forget the January 2009 ice storm that left over 700,000 customers without power and over 200,000 customers were without water for days and weeks?
John Heltzel, Director of Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) stated, “Although state and local governments are here to assist the public during these times, preparedness starts at home. It starts with being aware of conditions and situations that threaten you and your family’s safety and then taking appropriate steps.” He continued, “Be prepared! You should have at minimum a three day supply of food and water for each member of your family, along with essentials such as: medicines, flash lights, radio, extra batteries, matches, candles, first aid supplies, etc.”
Along with an emergency kit you should have an emergency plan.
PLANNING FOR DISASTER: “Be Aware, Be Prepared, Have a Plan!"
• Know in advance your weather forecasts;
• Own a battery backup NOAA Weather Alert Radio and battery (or crank) operated AM/FM radio for local broadcasts
• Stay tuned to your local broadcasting stations;
• Discuss conditions with family member and know their location during times of known potentially threatening conditions.
• Discuss your plan with family members and neighbors;
• Review your plan periodically for necessary updates;
• Refresh you emergency kit(s);
• Drill: practice your plan with household members;
• If you own a generator, read and familiarize yourself with the owner’s safety manual before ever attempting to use it.
Have a plan:
• UTILITES: Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on);
• SHELTER: Identify safe locations within your residence and long term shelters within you community;
• CONTACTS: Written contact information should include; relatives, neighbors, utility companies, employers (employees) and local emergency contact telephone numbers. Advise a contact (even an out of state contact is advised) of your plan;
• EVACUATE: Predetermine evacuation routes. Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places . . ., a friend or relative's home in another town, a motel, or local shelter;
• Children: Make back up plans for children in case you (or they) can’t get home in an emergency;
• Vehicles: Maintain a half tank of fuel in vehicles.
Move vehicles from under trees during possible wind events.
Keep an “Emergency Go Kit” in the vehicle;
• Medications: prepare a list of all prescription drugs.
Make a kit:
• First aid kit and essential medications; extra eyeglasses;
• Canned food and can opener;
• At least three gallons of water per person;
• Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags;
• Battery-powered (or crank) radio, flashlight, and extra batteries;
• Waterproof matches and candles;
• Local phone book and copies of insurance policies in sealed water proof bags;
• Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members;
• Extra set of car keys.