Clay Fire gives emergency, disaster safety tips for National Preparedness Month

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 10:36 AM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - September is recognized as National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It serves as an important reminder about preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time.

Even though September is the month to recognize disaster and emergency preparedness, officials with Clay Fire Territory say it’s not the only time you should be ready.

“Actually, we should be prepared all year long,” said Ron Melser, fire marshal for Clay Fire Territory. “September is a good reminder of that we never know when a situation like that could happen. A thunderstorm can come through and take out the power system, water lines break... You never know when something is going to happen.”

A good way of being ready for these scenarios is by putting together safety kits to help deal with those unplanned events.

Some of those items, according to FEMA, include:

  • First aid kit
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Another important reminder is to keep track of is food, which can be limited during emergency scenarios.

“Some of the important things are non-perishable foods, canned items, granola bars, peanut butter, some of the things that wont go bad.” Melser said.

Some of the food items that should be in your kits include:

  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

Emergencies can also happen when you’re out on the road. But there are some items you can have ready.

“When you’re traveling, make sure your car is in good health and maintained,” Melser said. “Have blankets, scrapers, shovels, flash lights, car chargers, that kind of stuff to help keeping whatever you need going and just to help anyone.”

And with the changing seasons, weather can play a big factor in what steps you should take.

“Obviously with rain, don’t go through water deeper then six inches,” Melser said. “Anything over a foot, your car can start floating. And with snow, snow drifts, when that starts happening, we don’t want to drive through that and get stuck.”

For more info on how to build safety kits for emergency scenarios, click here.

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