Frank Thomason: Be aware and prepared

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 7, 2015

By Frank Thomason

Special to the Salisbury Post

Rowan County residents are resilient. They have weathered winter storms, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other emergencies and come out better prepared. Yet, after an emergency is not the time to prepare.

No one knows when the next flood, tornado, hurricane or even chemical spill will impact our area. But Rowan County residents can prepare for these and other disasters. Preparing now for emergencies makes you better equipped to handle and recover from them when they occur.

September is North Carolina Preparedness Month and marks the 12th annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Rowan County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) wants to educate residents about how to prepare for emergencies by creating an emergency plan, communicating with your family and loved ones what to do during an emergency, and putting together an emergency supplies kit.

It’s easy to get started!

1. Make a plan. Use the resources on websites like or to help you and your family make emergency plans for home, work or school. Plan for the risks in your area such as if you live in a low-lying area or area prone to flooding. Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to build community resilience.

2. Discuss and practice your plan with your family. Be sure to communicate with one another about where to go and how you will get in touch with each other when an emergency occurs.

3. Build a kit. Keep enough emergency supplies – water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlights, and battery-powered radio on hand – for you and those in your care.

4. Stay informed. Listen to local media outlets for up-to-the-minute weather alerts. Follow the advice and instructions of local emergency personnel and first responders. Download the free, ReadyNC mobile app that provides up-to-date weather and traffic but also lists what you need to include in your emergency supplies kit. It’s important to mold your plan to your family’s needs and discuss it with every member in the house. Planning ahead of time will help you remain calm, think clearly and react accordingly.

The more prepared people are, the quicker the community will recover. It’s important to be aware and prepare!

Thomason is the chief of Emergency Services for Rowan County and the county’s emergency management coordinator.