October 17 • 03:20 AM
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National, local emergencies require that we be prepared

To the Editor:

The residents of our county have faced recent challenges in flooding, severe weather and now a potential flu outbreak that is being monitored closely by county officials. The loss of power, evacuations, closed businesses for periods of time have drastic effects on all of us. All of these incidents have the common theme of preparing each of our families for a minimum of 72 hours of self-sustainment.

There are several reasons why this is one of the most important issues that each of us face, yet many fail to act on.Look around you—what if your emergency responder, electrical worker, health care worker, grocery store clerk, etc. stayed home because their family was not prepared? The every day services that each of us expect and take for granted may not be available to you causing further problems for your family.

The majority of people do not realize how important their job is to the overall basic operation of our communities. The disruption of just one service complicates the delivery of numerous other services, creating a cascading effect across our communities.

The St. Clair County Homeland Security/ Emergency Management Office and all our public and private partners strongly recommend our residents move forward in creating a "Culture of Preparedness" by initiating the following points in preparing our homes and businesses:

•Create an emergency supply kit for your home and business.

•Discuss with family members what to do in an emergency situation.

•Establish a family communications plan for contacting family members.

•Follow recommended safety, hand washing and sanitizing recommendations.

Your emergency responders will continue to meet your expectations of prompt professional service on a daily basis. What we fail to realize is in a large scale event, there will be thousands of people with the same expectations creating a serious overburden on our responders. By taking a few moments to prepare your family you help ensure their safety in times when our emergency services are overwhelmed. Furthermore, it allows you to perform your job responsibilities that support the continued operation of your community without worry for the safety of your family.

Preparedness begins before an event occurs—not during or after an emergency.

Jeffrey Friedland, Director St. Clair County Homeland Security/Emergency Management
May 06, 2009

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