September is Preparedness Month

By Cory Angell, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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Prepared, not scared; that’s the motto for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s ready.gov preparedness campaign and September is preparedness month. According to the site, the purpose of preparedness month is to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year.  
“I don’t think you have to do anything to be specially prepared at work versus your home,” said Wayne Rhoads, installation emergency manager, Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Susquehanna. “If you are preparing at home you are more likely to be prepared at work.”

Rhoads said that that people will only be asked to do one of four things but it is key that they know as soon as possible what actions to take. 

“No matter what the event is we are going to tell people to do one of four things: shelter in their work building, evacuate their building, evacuate the instillation or we are going to close the installation,” said Rhoads. “We want people to know what protective measure we want them to take as soon as possible. That’s why people should login to AtHoc and put their information in.”

Rhoads said if you are a DLA employee, you should login to the fourth estate access and accountability system to make sure you’re registered to receive messages and for accountability in the event of an emergency. You can also search for and download the BlackBerry AtHoc mobile app in order to receive mass notification messages. Enter your work email address when you download the app—It can be on a personal or government device.

“That is a critical way to be prepared at work. Many people also like the app because, in the winter, if there is a closure, they find out right away,” said Rhoads. 
Rhoads also noted coming and going from work can be an issue in the winter. He suggested that people think preparedness when they go to the grocery store and stock up on some extra items that can be left in the car or taken into the house.

“You should have enough stuff to remain in your home for 72 hours,” said Rhoads. “A little bit of preparedness can go a long way.”

Items he recommended are canned goods, and don’t forget a can opener and bottled water. Batteries, flashlights and a radio are also handy in power outages.
“One big hazard in a winter power outage is the use of alternative heating,” said Rhoads. “Not only can it cause a fire but many people die of carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Rhoads recommends people visit the ready.gov website or a ready preparedness campaign website your state uses for more specific plans and tips local to you. You can also visit the sites below.

Personnel Accountability and Assessment Guide:
The Personnel Accountability and Assessment Guide is a tool to help managers and supervisors account for personnel and assess mission impact if a severe weather event causes damage to DLA facilities or the surrounding area. It outlines responsibilities for senior leaders, supervisors, and individual employees facing such an emergency situation.  If the weather event severely impacts operations, resulting in closures and potential displacement of or impact to large numbers of personnel, DLA Distribution may initiate a full accountability requirement using the various automated systems (FEPAAS and Service PAAS systems).  

Evacuation and Safe Haven Guidance:
The Evacuation and Safe Haven Guidance was developed to support personnel and their families, as well as mission continuity, in the event of a widespread natural or manmade disaster affecting a DLA duty location.