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Be aware and prepared, emergency officials say

As peak hurricane season nears, Rowan County emergency officials are reminding residents that now is the time to plan and prepare for emergencies and disasters.

“Natural and man-made emergencies are unpredictable, but residents can take steps now to plan how they will respond when disasters strike,” Rowan County Emergency Services Chief Frank Thomason said. “Take time now to make a family emergency plan, practice that plan and put together an emergency supplies kit. The more prepared you are before disaster strikes, the more prepared you are to recover from it. Be aware of the risks, prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”

Gov. Pat McCrory proclaimed September as Emergency Preparedness Month, which coincides with National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The designation is made each September to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies.

Thomason encourages residents, schools and business owners to make a plan and practice it routinely with other household members or staff. The plan should include details about where to meet, how to get in touch with one another, evacuation plans, what to do with pets and how to notify employees after an emergency.

The next step, Thomason said, is to put together an emergency supplies kit.

“Having the kit in place will help you during the emergency and make the recovery process a bit easier,” said Thomason. “For example, including copies of insurance policies in your kit will enable you to more quickly process claims. Most of the items needed for the kit can be found around your house.”

Other basic items that should be in an emergency kit are:

• Water – 1 gallon per person per day for 3 to 7 days

• Food – non-perishable and canned food supply for 3 to 7 days

• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio with extra batteries

• Cell phone with charger

•  First aid kit and first aid book

• Flashlight and extra batteries

• Manual can opener for food

• Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel

• Wrench or pliers to turn off water

• Blanket or sleeping bag – 1 per person

• Prescription medications, glasses and hearing aids

• Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes

• Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine supplies

• Extra house and car keys

• Important documents – insurance policies, copy of driver’s license, Social Security card, bank account records

• Fire extinguisher

• Cash and change

• Books, games or cards

For more emergency preparedness information visit www.ReadyROWAN.org or download the free ReadyNC mobile app available for both Android and iOS mobile smartphones.

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