Be ready to help yourself

  • Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 11:37 a.m.

Rowan County is blessed with emergency responders who stand ready to rescue people from all kinds of trouble — traffic accidents, tornados, ice storms, chemical spills, fires, floods, falls and more.

But residents shouldn’t leave all the work to the responders. When it comes to dealing with emergencies and disasters, residents can prepare to help themselves.

Since 2004, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has observed September as National Preparedness Month, a time to build awareness of how people can protect their families and businesses by thinking ahead and having a plan.

Think of it as preparing for a storm — and then some.

Locally, you can go to to learn the basics: Make a plan. Build a kit. Get involved.

Plan: If and when a disaster strikes, your family may not be together. Experts recommend you plan how you will get to a safe place, how you will contact each other and what you will do in different situations.

Kit: As volunteer Roy Beam demonstrates on the front page of today’s paper, it’s easy to pull together a disaster supply kit of basic items your family may need in the event of an emergency.

Involved: Beam and dozens of other volunteers have joined the Community Emergency Response Team to help families, neighborhoods, schools and businesses across the county prepare for effective response through training and planning.

You can also sign up to be notified about potential emergency circumstances. Rowan has a “Reverse 911” system that warns residents and businesses with recorded messages on the phone. The system will automatically call all listed numbers within the area affected. If you have an unlisted number or a cellphone on which you’d like to receive such calls, go to, Telecommunications, Reverse 911. On, you’ll also find ways to receive notification by email and text.

FEMA produces a wealth of information on how to prepare for emergencies. The Post has some of these materials available for free in our lobby at 131 W. Innes St.

Knowledge could be the most valuable item in your emergency kit. Get as much of it as you can.

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