Catasauqua Press

Friday, November 24, 2017

Another view

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 by The Press in Opinion

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

A few weeks ago, I was making some toast in the toaster oven for breakfast. Little did I know, there were crumbs on the bottom just waiting to be burnt. Within a few seconds to a minute, a small flame started in the toaster oven, and I had a mini freak-out.

Not knowing exactly what to do correctly, on the spur of the moment, I unplugged the toaster oven and waited for a few seconds to see if the flame decreased. Thankfully, it did.

Looking back, I realize this was not too big of a problem, but the situation forced me to research what to do when a flame starts in a toaster oven, oven or even in a room in our house.

Now, with an almost 6-month-old baby, it’s even more important to our family to put together a plan and know the proper steps to take when a fire occurs in our house.

Or how about if we lose power or if flooding occurs in our area? Hurricane Harvey hit Texas Aug. 25, causing massive flooding, destruction, injuries and death.

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, an awareness designated to making a plan and taking action when an emergency strikes, whether it’s fire, wind, water, snow, etc. This year’s theme is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

According to ready.gov, the weekly theme for Sept. 1-9 is “Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends”; Sept. 10-16, it’s “Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community”; Sept. 17-23, “Practice and Build Out Your Plans”; and Sept. 24-30, “Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger.”

In making a plan with your family for an emergency, some of the points to make in your discussion should include:

• A meeting place if members of the family are separated

• What to do when a fire is started in your home

• How to exit your house (if a fire is on the first floor)

• Where the fire extinguishers are located

• How to turn off the water (in case of a leak) or the electricity (in case of an electrical fire)

• Which family members grab what (who gets the emergency bag; who grabs the pets; etc.)

Some of the items you should consider packing in your emergency preparedness bag to have in an emergency include:

• Plenty of bottles of water

• Flashlight with extra batteries

• Candles and matches

• Nonperishable food items and a can opener

• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

• First-aid kit

• Cellphone charger if you go to a shelter that has power

• Whistle to signal for help

• Heavy blankets

• Change of clothes

• Moist towelettes

• Travel-size toiletries

• Cash

And don’t forget about your precious pooch or friendly feline. Grab items for your four-legged family members, too.

As another way to prepare for an emergency, have you and your family members signed up for Nixle? You can text your ZIP code to 888777 to receive alerts on approaching severe weather, among other activities.

If you’re looking for upcoming events in your area to attend regarding National Emergency Preparedness Month, keep in mind Whitehall Township is having its fifth annual emergency preparedness expo, set for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 9 at Lowe’s Home Improvement, 2650 MacArthur Road, Whitehall. The event will be held rain or shine.

Also, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 30, there will be a similar event with demonstrations, presentations and trainings at Lone Lane Park, 30 Lone Lane, Allentown.

Many people think a tornado won’t hit their house until it does happen; many residents don’t think a snowstorm’s winds could knock down a tree, ceasing power to their house, until it does. These are situations we don’t think about on an everyday basis.

In an emergency, sometimes there are only minutes to react. Are you prepared?

Stacey Koch

editorial assistant

Catasauqua Press

Northampton Press

Whitehall-Coplay Press