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September is National Preparedness Month

ntl preparedness monthFEMA’s 2014 Ready campaign has kicked off and this year’s theme is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.”  I bet you’re thinking, “Arizona doesn’t have disasters- why bother?” As an Emergency Manager working in Arizona I hear this sentiment a lot, but let me share with you why being prepared, even in Arizona, is important.

On August 2, 2014, with little or no warning, Toledo, Ohio encountered a water crisis in which algae bloomed from Lake Erie causing nearly 400,000 people to be unable to use their water to drink, cook with or bathe for 3 days. This incident caused many great difficulties, as you can imagine. Business losses alone were estimated to be approximately $1.5 million. Toledo’s most prevalent local hazards are snow and flooding, and we have our own local hazards including extreme heat and flooding. This one took most of Toledo by surprise. That is the important point to remember. It was not scheduled or planned; it came as a surprise, like most emergencies.

You really don’t know when or where an emergency might strike. Speak to any Toledoan, and they will tell you the same. I am sure that most people could have never imagined their recent local crisis.

Simple preparedness activities like having food and water storage, a family communication plan and teaching your older children how to turn off the utilities to your home, are very simple but useful activities that you can do this month. Ensure you and your family are prepared for local emergencies.

If you want to learn more, visit FEMA’s website at www.ready.gov or follow @GilbertYourTown on Twitter where we will be providing useful tips all month long. Take action now to prepare!

Sheri Gibbons
Emergency Management Coordinator
Gilbert Fire and Rescue Department
Sheri.Gibbons@gilbertaz.gov

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