Steve Hilley R.N.: Prepare a plan

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To the citizens of Northwest Colorado,

September has been designated National Preparedness Month. The events from Hurricane Katrina are a reminder that disasters, whether a force of nature or man-made, can have a devastating effect on thousands of people. All regions have a threat of disaster. Some of the risks to the Yampa Valley include wild fire, snowstorms, flooding and possible terrorism attack.

Public health, law enforcement, fire, EMS, hospitals, medical clinics and other local first responders have been trained and continue to train for man-made and natural disasters. Local emergency officials will continue to plan, train, evaluate our trainings, plan and train again. The citizens of a community also must prepare themselves and their families for a potential disaster.

During the month of Sept-ember for National Preparedness Month, families should take the time to develop their own plans. There is a saying in disaster preparedness, "All disasters, are local disasters." If we have a disaster locally in our community, local emergency plans have been put in place and are continually reviewed. Below are a few simple steps that will help your family in the event of a disaster.

1. Set up a Communication Plan with your family. Choose a family member or friend that lives outside of our region or state to have separated families contact. That contact will be responsible or help coordinate putting separated family members in communication with each other.

2. Keep an Emergency Preparedness Kit in your house. It is recommended that individuals and families have at least three days' worth of food, water, household supplies (diapers, medicine, toiletries, batteries, etc). If flooding is a potential risk for your region, storing medicines or vital supplies in waterproof containers is also recommended. Depending on the extent of the disaster and accessibility for emergency workers, it may take three days or more for assistance to arrive. Don't forget about our pets, determine what resources might be available for household animals during a disaster.

The following is a list of on-line resources to assist you in you emergency preparedness:Routt County Emergency Management www.co.routt.co.us/

  • Emergency Preparedness Checklist www.fema.gov/pdf/library/epc.pdf
  • Family Disaster Plan www.fema.gov/pdf/library/yfdp.pdf
  • Are you ready? www.fema.gov/areyouready/
  • Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed. www.ready.gov/index.html
  • Red Cross - Get Prepared. www.redcross.org/services/prepare/0,1082,0_239_,00.html

During the month of September for National Preparedness, please take a few minutes to prepare your family with the above mentioned suggestions and review the on-line resources for more information.

Steve Hilley R.N.

Northwest Colorado All Hazards Training Coordinator

Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

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