September is National Preparedness Month, and Southwest District Public Health is reminding residents of the four steps to take to be ready for disasters – get a kit, make a plan, be involved and be informed.
"As an incentive to get prepared, Southwest Georgia Public Health District will be giving away a personal preparedness kit to the 100th individual to `like' our Facebook page," said District Emergency Preparedness Director Julie Miller.
"The American Red Cross `Ready Emergency SmartPack' kit, which we'll be giving away, provides the basis for building a preparedness kit you can customize for your specific needs," Miller said. Smartpacks are backpack-style totes that contain emergency drinking water, a poncho, a blanket, handwarmers, emergency food with a five-year shelf life, a flashlight, lightsticks, a whistle, first aid supplies and more.
"They also contain instructions on how to update and enhance the kits to make them more effective and keep them up-to-date," Miller said. "Your kit should be customized and you should rethink it – replacing batteries and updating clothing, for example – at least once a year."
Southwest Health District's Facebook page is a useful resource during emergencies as well as year-round, Miller noted. "We are able to quickly post news and updates to our Facebook page, so it is a good place to check if you have Public Health-related questions. We encourage you to post comments and questions as well. We monitor our Facebook page and make every effort to respond promptly."
September 2012 marks the ninth annual National Preparedness Month, Miller said. "The goal of the observance is to educate the public about how to prepare for emergencies, whether they are natural or man-made disasters, biological or chemical threats, radiation emergencies or terrorism," she said.
"We emphasize that there are four steps that will help prepare you regardless of the type of emergency situation that occurs," Miller said, adding, "The important thing to understand is that you should prepare now, before the disaster, not during it."
Readiness steps include: