The Norwalk Fire Department-Office of Emergency Management is encouraging residents to “Resolve to Be Ready in 2013”. A resolution to be better prepared for emergencies is both important and easy to keep. Americans who make New Year's resolutions are eleven times more likely to report continued success than people who have not made a resolution, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Whether it is a winter storm, heat wave, hurricane or power outage, being prepared to handle any emergency can lower some of the stress these events bring.
1. Create a family emergency plan Your family may not be together when an emergency happens, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.
2. Put together emergency supply kits for home and car You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer. Also make sure you have a winter survival kit in your car.
3. Be informed about the different types of emergencies that can happen in Norwalk. Learn about the hazards that may strike your community, the risks you face from these hazards and your community's plans for warning and evacuation. The City’s Emergency Notification System will be used to alert residents of weather or other isuses that may impact them. If you have an unlisted number or want to receive alerts on your cell phone or by text or e-mail, go to www.norwalkct.org and click on the Emergency Alert button on the left.
4. Get involved in emergency preparedness: Here are some ways to can encourage friends, family and co-workers to be ready:
- Distribute Family Emergency Plan templates to your neighbors at home and at work. Emphasize the season's communal focus and encourage your neighbors to plan what they will do in different situations. Printer friendly versions of emergency plans are available on our website and can easily be included in a holiday card or mailer.
- Plan preparedness programs at your local school. After winter vacation, January is a great time to work with school officials to make emergency preparedness a part of their efforts. For example, families can be invited to hear from local officials about the school and community emergency plans. Consider having a local first responder teach parents how to assemble an Emergency Supply Kit and develop a Family Emergency Plan.
- Check on your senior neighbors and those who may need additional assistance. Seniors and individuals with disabilities may need a little extra help in getting prepared and during a disaster or emergency. Next time you are visiting, tell them about your own preparedness efforts, ask about their needs and how you can help.
- Plan Preparedness Activities for Scouts and Other Youth Organizations. Make preparedness a priority throughout the year for scout meetings and activities. Conduct preparedness quizzes, download and create personalized checklists; draft family plans. Girl Scouts can work toward achieving the new Preparedness Patch and Boy Scouts can work toward the Emergency Preparedness Award.
The Fire Department encourages residents to visit www.ready.gov for tools and resources to make a New Year's resolution that will keep you and your loved ones safe. Best wishes for a Safe and Happy New Year.