September is National Preparedness Month. It is important to prepare your family for any kind of emergency whether it is a flood, hurricane, electricity outage, ice or snow storm, or health related emergency like the flu. Be sure to arrange and discuss your own personal emergency response plan with your family, including what to do if you and your family are separated during an emergency, and how you will contact each other if phones are not in service and select a common place where you will meet.

Using a checklist can also be helpful in assessing the areas in which you may or may not be prepared. Attempt to prepare a kit that could be portable if an evacuation is necessary. Some items that you will want to include in an emergency preparedness kit are non-perishable (freeze dried or canned) foods with a non-electric can opener, one gallon of water per day per person for two weeks, a first aid kit that includes at least seven days’ worth of routine prescription medications for individuals in your family, a battery operated radio with extra batteries, a cell phone with its charger, a flashlight, blankets or sleeping bags, garbage or plastic shopping bags, moist towelettes for personal sanitation, and a particle filtering mask (or a cotton tee shirt folded in half) to hold up to your nose and mouth if air becomes contaminated.

A major difficulty for police, hospitals, and other emergency personnel is locating a missing family member. One important thing to do for emergencies is to be sure you have emergency contacts listed in your wallet, car, and cell phone. Adding a contact named ICE (In Case of Emergency) in the contact list on your cell phone informs others of your emergency contact.

Some other things that will prepare you for an emergency are keeping the gas tanks in all of your vehicles at least half full, keeping cell phone batteries charged at all times, knowing several routes out of your city or town in case of evacuation, and practicing emergency drills with your family at least once every month.

If you have any questions about emergency preparedness, contact the Livingston County Department of Health at (585) 243-7524 or Office of Emergency Management at (585) 243-7160 or visit our website at www.livingstoncounty.us/doh.htm.