September signals more than summer’s end and back-to-school for children. For the seventh year, September has been designated as National Preparedness Month (NPM) to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.
Of course, since we’ve just passed the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, devastation from storms is at the forefront of our minds. And well it should be. New Jersey has been very lucky that we’ve not had a direct hit from a hurricane in many years. But we all know that one day it could happen. Also, we shouldn’t be lulled when hurricane season passes. There are so many possibilities for disaster such as train accidents, ice storms or multi-car accidents on our major highways. We can’t dwell on what might happen but we can certainly take steps to avoid as much danger as possible and prepare for any eventuality.
Here in New Jersey, The Salvation Army has a dedicated Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team that supports first responders and victims during times of crisis. We know how disasters can immediately turn lives upside down and how stressful it can be for individuals and families. I strongly encourage everyone to make preparedness plans now so that if the time comes, you’ll have everything in order to help cope with your situation.
Preparedness plans take only a short time to make but the repercussions of not having one can last for a long time. Please visit www.ready.gov or www.fema.gov then spend a few minutes following their guidelines for planning. Recording simple information such as phone numbers for relatives, friends, doctors and your pharmacy will help you notify people if you must leave your home. Carrying a card with your medication information will be invaluable should you be injured. There are many other simple items you can record in one place to be of help if you need to be evacuated or are stranded.
Please remember to make or update your preparedness plan today. And know that The Salvation Army is ready to be of assistance when disaster strikes. Financial support of all our programs is critical – please show your support by making a donation. Visit www.salvationarmynj.org and click on Donate or make a credit card donation by calling Tricia Pellegrini at 908-851-8227.
Major Donald E. Berry
NJ State Commander
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