taken from the Commerical Appeal- http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/jan/23/resolve-to-be-prepared-for-disaster/ on January 28, 2011 at 11:23am.
Resolve to be prepared for disaster
By Sandra Mathias, Special to My Life
Posted January 23, 2011 at 11:44 a.m.
January 2010 roared in with a winter storm that blanketed the region with ice, snow and power outages. Several days of subzero temperatures followed in February. May's thunderstorms produced tornadoes and flash flooding that lead to major flooding -- the likes of which we have not experienced in more than 1,000 years. July brought record high temperatures, contributing to several heat-related deaths. Hazardous materials releases, bomb threats, gas leaks, high-rise evacuations, major fires and seasonal influenza were experienced.
With every unexpected event, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness HLS/EMA, under the direction of Bob Nations Jr., worked closely with the National Weather Service in Memphis; law enforcement and fire departments; city, county, state and federal government agencies; the American Red Cross; the Salvation Army; and citizens to recover.
Many citizens were able to assist because they were prepared. Their actions lightened the load of emergency professionals and allowed them to concentrate their efforts on helping those who could not help themselves. Many citizens, faith-based organizations and businesses volunteered their time at warming tents and shelters and also donated food, clothing, fans, air conditioners, heaters, blankets, sleeping bags, winter clothing, hygiene supplies and pet care when neighbors most needed help.
The Office of Preparedness hopes to help all citizens to be prepared. In 2011, make a resolution to get involved by volunteering with the Shelby County Citizen Corps, which includes the Medical Reserve Corps, Community Emergency Response Team training and USAonWatch (neighborhood watch). Resolve to become certified in CPR and first aid. Meet your neighbors and become a "buddy" to seniors and special needs citizens.
Three simple steps to preparedness:
Get a kit: Create an emergency kit for home, work and auto to sustain you and your pets for at least seven days. Include nonperishable foods, water, tools, first-aid and sanitation supplies.
Make a plan: Have a plan for every possible hazard that could occur in Shelby County. Have a communications plan as to where family members will meet after the event. Select an out-of-state person for everyone to contact. Practice the plans.
Stay informed: Listen to NOAA weather radio, TV or ALERT FM for inclement weather warnings and other emergency alerts.
As the books are closed on 2010, remember that preparedness is a commitment. Those in emergency management look forward to 2011 -- working in partnership with all citizens for a safe and happy new year.