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News | Sept. 22, 2016

Disasters are unpredictable; be prepared

By Robert J. Cross, DLA Richmond Fire and Emergency Services assistant chief

We all know we can’t predict when a natural disaster will occur. We also can’t predict when man-made events such as an active shooter will take place. However, we can plan and prepare to respond to these types of events. We are continuously confronted with an ever changing landscape of disasters. Just in the past few years, we’ve had examples from hurricanes, severe changes in weather and now increases in mass shooter events.

We, as an installation, are at the core for reducing risks by focusing on the creation of plans and actions to better prepare ourselves in the event of a natural disaster or man-made emergency, both on and off the installation. Remember, it is not just emergency response personnel who play a role in these types of events; we all play a role as individuals in risk reduction by having a plan and being prepared.       

September is National Preparedness Month and the goal is to increase public awareness to the importance of being prepared for these types of events.

Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support at Richmond’s Richmond Fire and Emergency Services would like to re-enforce the employees’ awareness of being prepared through the use of five key points stressed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

     1.   Make a plan. Where do we meet if an event occurs, how do we communicate if separated, and where is our local shelter if evacuated and how will we get there?

     2.  Make an emergency kit. Have items to get you through three days; food and water, clothing, blankets, flashlights, a radio, etc.

     3.  Stay informed. Keep up with the event by watching the television news casts, and listening to the radio for updates from local agencies and authorities.

     4.  Prepare your workplace. Treat just as you would your home. Know where to shelter and where to evacuate to, and listen to updates via Mass Notification, Giant Voice, Ad-Hoc systems, etc.
     5. Take action and get involved. Don’t just say you are going to get to it, actually make the leap, and do it. Practice with your family and co-workers, get with neighbors and see what they are doing to prepare and assist them if they are not. Volunteer, there are plenty of agencies out there that can use your help to assist those in need.   

We must continue to take a proactive approach to being prepared. Make a plan, build your kit, practice, and most of all, get involved. It may be the difference in getting you out of harm’s way before the event or assisting you in getting through the event.