OSWEGO COUNTY – September is National Preparedness Month, an annual celebration to remind all Americans how important it is that individuals, families and communities be prepared for disasters and emergencies that can strike at any time. This year’s theme, “Prepare to Protect,” highlights how disaster preparedness protects everyone.
“We have faced emergencies and disasters such as those caused by flooding, high winds and extreme weather conditions,” said Oswego County Legislature Speaker James Weatherup. “We have seen these events last for a few minutes, a few days or several weeks; and we know the long-term effects can last even longer than that. It is through early planning and preparation that we can improve our community’s ability to withstand a disaster and boost our recovery efforts.
Cathleen Palmitesso, director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, added, “Planning before an emergency happens is the best way to improve our community’s recovery after a disaster. When individuals take responsibility for preparing their families and communities, the chances of survival and return to normalcy after a disaster are greatly increased. “
Palmitesso urged people to follow the steps offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the website www.ready.gov and develop a plan for their families. “Meet your family and discuss the dangers of possible emergency events, including fire, severe weather, dangerous spills and more,” she said. “Know what to do in each type of emergency and know how to contact your family members at all times. “
Plans should be tailored to the specific needs of your household, such as child, pet, and senior care. “Create your own personal network for the areas where you need help,” Palmitesso said. “Keep in mind things like dietary needs, medical needs, including prescriptions and equipment, disabilities or access, and functional needs, including devices, equipment and languages spoken. Don’t forget your pets; have plans for them if you have to leave your home for several days.
Sample family emergency plans are available online at www.ready.gov.
Palmitesso also urged people to build a kit with disaster supplies for at least three days. “You could be without electricity or essential services for up to a week or more following a severe weather event,” she said. “Kits should include water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, battery-powered or hand-cranked AM / FM radio, flashlight, extra batteries, and copies of important documents. “
Disaster supply kits should be kept in a designated location and easy to grab if you need to leave your home quickly. An emergency car kit should include jumper cables, flares or reflective triangle, ice scraper, car cell phone charger, blanket, map, and kitty litter or sand for better tire traction.
“Make sure your cell phone is fully charged when bad weather conditions are imminent,” Palmitesso said. “People should also make sure their cell phone numbers are registered with the Hyper-Reach Notification Service at the Oswego County E-911 Communication Center.”
Hyper-Reach uses mass dialing technology to notify people of emergencies or incidents in their neighborhood. People can register their cell phones through the centre’s website, https://secure.hyper-reach.com/comsignup.jsp?id=12481.
“Flooding and weather events have resulted in disaster declarations across New York State this summer,” Palmitesso said. “Fortunately, Oswego County has been largely spared; However, with the onset of winter and more severe weather threats forecast across the country, I urge everyone to prepare now to protect their families and loved ones.
More information on disaster planning is available at www.ready.gov and on the Oswego County Emergency Management Office website at www.oswegocounty.com/emo.
“PREPARE TO PROTECT” – The The Oswego County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee presented a proclamation to Cathleen Palmitesso, director of the county’s emergency management office, designating September as National Preparedness Month. It is a good reminder for residents to make a plan and prepare their families, homes and businesses for unforeseen emergencies. In the photo on the left, Richard Kline, District 12; Bradley Trudell, District 7; Mary Ellen Chesbro, District 10; the vice-president of the committee Marc Greco, District 24; Palmitesso; committee chair Terry Wilbur, District 21; Laurie Mangano, District 17; and Nathan Emmons, District 15.