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Emergency Preparedness Month reminds you to prepare for the worst
Published: 09/22/2011 18:10:00
Disaster can strike at any time without warning, so it's a good idea to be ready. September is national Emergency Preparedness Month, and you might have seen commercials on TV reminding you to make sure you have supplies and a plan ready. When a big event happens, emergency responders are stretched thin, so it's recommended to have at least 3 to 5 days' worth of food, water, and other emergency supplies at home.

Tom Mattice is the Juneau Emergency Programs Manager, he told us how to get ready: "Preparedness happens at all levels, and the only way the community can take care of you is if those workers are taking care of their families at home first. So it all starts at home, it starts with that basic family communication and that family disaster plan so that we know in a time of crisis you'll be there to support your community, you know your family's taken care of; it allows you to help prepare to take care of the next guy."

Last week a free public preparedness seminar funded by the Department of Homeland Security was held in Juneau. One of the many topics discussed was the importance of communication before an emergency.

Don Driskill is the Lead Instructor of the Community Partnership and Awareness Training with the National Sheriff's Association.

"What are the chances that your whole family is going to be together when a disaster strikes; that's pretty unlikely. So you have to have some plan in place, some out of town contact that everybody in your family is going to call and contact. And that person is going to reunite your family." Says Driskill.

"Some of the things we know is that cell phone towers will go down during an emergency, that's why we advocate land lines; there's less likely to go down during an emergency. And we advocate an out of town contact, but we also advocate email, and there's the social media now that is on the big rise using Twitter and Facebook where you can post what you condition is, that you're safe or you need assistance." He adds.

In addition to being one of the city's emergency response centers, Centennial Hall is hosting the Southeast Alaska Preparedness Expo this Friday from Noon until 6 PM and Saturday from 10 AM until 4 PM.

Mattice told us about the event: "It's a community wide event with exhibitors in the main hall, with individual booths with subject matter experts and information to hand out to the public; as well as 4 training rooms with individual training sessions on everything from first aid and CPR to financial planning to getting in touch with your family after a disaster. So a little bit of everything on a very broad spectrum, trying to keep our community better prepared for events."

By: Mikko Wilson -