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Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness


Preparedness consists of all activities taken prior to the onset of an emergency to prepare for the eventual response to and recovery from an emergency. While mitigation and prevention actions may reduce the impact of hazards in a community, these actions do not eliminate risk associated with all hazards. Preparedness activities increase the resilience of the community. 

Five steps to resilience are: Explore Hazards, Asses Vulnerability and Risks, Investigate Options, Prioritize and Plan, Take Action.

The goal of community preparedness efforts is to prepare individuals and families should to survive for a minimum of 72 hours before the restoration of essential services, such as the distribution of water, food, and emergency supplies. 

August 2021 Message

In the world of emergency management, August sees a continuation of extreme heat awareness. Check the tabs below for tips on how to beat the heat. You can also check the National Integrated Heat Health Information System for more tips and real-time mapping of heat hazards from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. With the high volume and range of fires out West, we're seeing a lot of smoke and air quality issues on this side of the country. Go to AirNow.gov for maps, warnings, and other real-time information regarding smoke and air quality hazards in this region and across the country.

August is also Children and Youth Preparedness Month, which coincides with back-to-school activities. Tabs below can help your child learn or become involve in your family's (and community's) preparedness planning and can also help your child adjust to going back to school. The "Six Tips ...," "Natural Disasters Brief," and "Relocated Families" tabs build on that notion and may be especially helpful when it comes to coping with reentering the classroom, as many schools have new guidelines. For those of you who homeschool your children, you can go to Ready.gov for curriculum and activity suggestions. The "Backpack Card" is a handy tool from the CDC that you can use to compile emergency contact information for your child to carry with them.

Contact Information

Benjamin Wilson
Emergency Management Program Coordinator

Heat Safety

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses. In addition to the resources below, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers a free OSHA Heat Safety App for both Android and iPhone.

It is never safe to leave a toddler, disabled person or pet locked in a car, even in the winter. If you have a toddler in your household, lock your cars, even in your own driveway. Kids play in cars or wander outside and get into a car and can die in 10 minutes. A reported 51 young children died in hot cars in 2019, and in 2020, a death was reported as early as April. Cars can heat up quickly when left in the sun.

Find out more about children, pets, and vehicles at the National Weather Service website. Get resources to remind you or friends with children in both English and Spanish from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Extreme Heat Events
Heat-Related Injuries
  • Overview

    During extremely hot and humid weather, your body's ability to cool itself is challenged. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness. It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness, and recommended first aid steps.

Children and Youth Preparedness

Disasters, whether natural or human-caused, are often unpredictable and can happen at any time and to anyone. Disasters are defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an occurrence that has resulted in property damage, deaths, and/or injuries to a community, and may include floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, fires, illnesses, chemical or radiation emergencies, and terrorist or bioterrorist attacks, among others.

It's critical to ensure children and families know what to do in an emergency and that the unique needs and assets of youth are included in disaster preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery efforts. While many individuals report that they are aware of disasters and their potential effects, fewer report that they have undertaken steps to plan for or prepare for disasters.

Prevention and preparedness refer to the planning and actions that occur prior to a disaster. This may include preparing for public health threats, developing an emergency response plan, creating an emergency preparedness kit, or taking steps to address things that may cause a disaster.

Response and recovery refer to actions that occur during and after disasters or emergencies. Responses to emergencies may include sheltering in place or evacuating, and recovery may include repairing damaged infrastructure, reuniting families, replacing supplies, addressing emotional responses and revising response plans.

Youth-serving agencies can play an important role educating youth about disasters and teaching them coping mechanisms. Involving them in prevention, preparedness, recovery, and response efforts can help to ensure that youth, families, and communities are prepared and able to respond when faced with disasters.