September is National Preparedness Month, and the Prince William County Office of Emergency Management is trying to help people in the community prepare for any emergency that may arise. This year's theme for the month is "Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How."
As part of National Preparedness Month, the county is participating in the National Day of Action, or National PrepareAthon! Day, on Saturday, Sept. 15, said Brian Misner, the county's emergency management coordinator.
To participate, there is an online preparedness guide for community leaders to use to help people get ready for emergencies. Homeowner's, civic and faith-based organizations can register at www.pwcgov.org/ready
, Misner said. "We're asking residents, as well as neighborhood and faith-based leaders and homeowners associations to sign up to receive a digital facilitator's guide from us. That guide will walk them through working with their neighbors and community members to understand the hazards that are in our community. It will also go through simple steps that people can take as individuals and households to make themselves more prepared for an emergency."
During the week of Sept. 9 through 15, the Office of Emergency Management will focus on encouraging people to learn lifesaving skills, such as first aid and CPR. Individuals also be encouraged to know the location of their utility shutoffs, and to learn about generator safety and ways to keep their homes and businesses safe from fire.
From Sept. 16 through 22, people will be urged to check their insurance coverage to learn what's covered, and maybe more importantly, what's not covered, Misner said. "The important thing to note is that homeowners insurance does not include flood loss. Flood loss insurance is a separate program. There are many areas in the county that are considered flood plain."
During the week of Sept. 23 through 29, the focus will be on how people should save for an emergency. Maintaining savings for emergencies is critical to effectively plan for the financial hardships caused by emergencies, Misner said. "Emergencies happen. They happen to all of us, so it's just a matter of time. It's a smart activity to try to set a little something aside in case something affects your family."
People can also prepare for emergencies by registering for local alerts and warnings at pwcgov.org/alerts and following PWCFireRescue on Twitter and Facebook. The office also recommends developing a family emergency plan and gathering emergency supplies in a kit that is ready to go at a moment's notice.
- The essential emergency kit should include: One gallon of water per person per day for three days
- Three days or food that won't spoil and doesn't need electricity to prepare
- A written family emergency plan
- A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and extra batteries
- A change of clothes for each person
Emergency kits for individuals and families can include
- Trash bags
- Dust masks
- Food for pets
- Extra batteries
- Tools to turn off gas and water services
- First aid kit
- Hygiene products
- Glasses or contact lenses
Emergency kits for infants can include:
- Baby food
- First aid kit
- Shot records
- Hygiene products
- Powdered milk and formula
- Baby wipes
- Diaper bag or backpack
Emergency kits for pets may include:
- Name tags and leash
- Pet food and treats
- Pet waste bags
- Pet carrier
- Medications and pet first aid kit
- Litter box
- One gallon of water per pet per day
For more information about emergency preparedness, visit pwcgov.org/ready.