The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Center for Threat Preparedness, is urging the public to plan for emergencies in advance by developing a Family Emergency Plan that suits each family’s individual needs.
“September is National Preparedness Month, a good time for the public to engage in personal preparedness planning and develop or revise their Family Emergency Plan,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health. “If you already have a plan in place, you should check to determine if anything needs to be modified since it was first developed.”
This year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s PrepareAthon! theme is Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make your Family Emergency Plan Today. A Family Emergency Plan or Family Communication Plan involves planning out logistics and communication strategies to use during disasters and emergencies before they pose a threat.
Gupta said all West Virginians need to take a moment with family members and discuss where you will go or meet during an emergency, determine at what point will you evacuate your residence, how will you contact loved ones if traditional means of communication are not available, and who will you call.
“It is also very important to identify a point of contact who lives outside of the state, someone with whom you could stay if the entire state was affected during an emergency,” he said.
The website Ready.gov offers easy-to-use templates that help make the process straightforward, as well as contact cards for kids with family member’s information to carry with them to school in case disaster strikes. Building a family emergency plan doesn’t need to take a lot of time and should be an activity in which the entire family is involved.
“Make creating a Family Emergency Plan a fun learning experience and a priority for the entire family,” said Gupta. “Children will enjoy having input and getting to use their creativity with planning.”
For more information, visit the Center for Threat Preparedness website http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/healthprep.