Emergency Preparedness & You: National Preparedness Month

Emergency Preparedness and You by Corey Snitker

Ah, September. Kids are back in school, Labor Day weekend has already come and gone, fall school sports are upon us, college football and the NFL are starting to hit the airways, and for those in the Emergency Management Field, September also is Preparedness Month.

In recognition of this, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has proclaimed September as Preparedness Month in Iowa in conjunction with National Preparedness Month, which was created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, in an effort to educate the public on how to prepare for emergencies.

“This past summer’s severe weather and flooding are a reminder that disasters can, and do, happen in our state and that is why I have proclaimed September as Preparedness Month in Iowa,” said Reynolds. “I am asking Iowans to take steps now to prepare themselves, their families, their places of business, and their communities for any emergency.”

Iowa Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD), the Iowa Emergency Management Association (IEMA), the Safeguard Iowa Partnership (SIP) and the National Weather Service (NWS).

During Preparedness Month, HSEMD, IEMA, SIP and your local Allamakee County Emergency Management Agency are urging Iowans and Allamakee County residents to take simple steps to ensure they, their families, and their places of business are prepared. Those steps are to make an emergency plan, build an emergency kit, and be aware of hazards in your area. For more on these three simple steps to preparedness, visit www.beready.iowa.gov.

This year’s Preparedness Month may even be more appropriate given Hurricane Harvey is demonstrating just how devastating a natural disaster can be and the need to be ready for a disaster or emergency at every level from the State to the individual. Hopefully, here in Iowa we won’t have to deal with 50-plus inches of rain, but a tornado, flash flood, windstorm or a winter ice storm can have a dramatic effect, leaving you without power, without a home or without a way out to get out.

This is especially relevant for some as memories are still fresh from the windstorm that came through the county July 19, and for many, finding themselves spending hours and longer without electricity; not to mention those roads temporarily closed due to down trees immediately following the storm.

While still months away, winter is coming and we need to remember the dangers that can come from a blizzard or worse, an ice storm, during this season. Finally, it was just a year ago that the county and surrounding area went through record flooding on the Upper Iowa River, and the rains and impacts that come from those storms.

So in closing, take some time to prepare. For more information on Preparedness Month sponsors, and for additional information on disaster and emergency planning and readiness, visit Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management at www.homelandsecurity.iowa.gov; Iowa Emergency Management Association, www.iowaema.com; Safeguard Iowa Partnership, www.safeguardiowa.org; and the National Weather Service La Crosse, www.weather.gov/arx.

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