Pictured are Dawn Robinson from the Arthur Public Library and Hannah Storm, Douglas County Health Department
The Arthur Public Library hosted an emergency preparedness event on Saturday, October 2. Organized by Dawn Robinson, library staff member, and presented by Hannah Smothers of the Douglas County Health Department, attendees were given an overview of the best way to prepare and get informed, as well as what is needed for emergency planning and a checklist to follow in order to be ready for any emergency. An emergency could be anything from flooding to storms such as tornados or dealing with extreme heat or cold and could also include fires. Other hazards could be hazardous materials incidents, explosions, and biological or chemical threats. Be sure to put a plan in place that will apply to all types of emergencies or hazards. Know your children’s school’s emergency plan as well.
Planning ahead is essential. Preparedness includes: 1) getting informed about hazards and emergencies that may affect you and your family; 2) develop an emergency plan; 3) collect and assemble a disaster supply kit; 4) learn where to seek shelter; 5) identify community warning systems and evacuation routes; 6) learn what to do for specific hazards; and 7) practice and maintain your plan.
Some things to think about under emergency planning and checklists are to plan ahead for escape routes, family communication and a plan as to where to meet, check with your utility company as to how to go about shutting off utility service. Keep insurance and other vital records stored away from your house or in a place easily accessible. Have a plan as to what to do with your pets and other animals.
Important safety skills include learning first aid and CPR and how to use a fire extinguisher. A disaster kit should contain water and food for three days, battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, matches and waterproof container and a can opener, among other things. Restock and reassess your disaster kit once a year.
The American Red Cross and FEMA have publications available for helping with emergency preparedness as well as the Douglas County Health Office. Contact Douglas County Health at 217-253-4137 or dchealthdept.org.