The Otsego County Department of Health offers the following information in recognition of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security declaring September as National Preparedness Month:

In today's world, we need to be prepared for many kinds of emergencies that could impact our health and safety. Whether an emergency is caused by disease outbreak, wildfire, severe weather, earthquake or terrorist act, would we know what to do to help protect ourselves and our family?

September is Emergency Preparedness Month. The Otsego County Department of Health reminds you to talk with your family about the need to prepare for an emergency, then make a plan. The following suggestions will help keep you and your family safe in the event of an emergency:

Make sure everyone in your family knows where you keep emergency supplies and a first-aid kit.

In an emergency, tune in to media reports for important information. Know which stations can provide up-to-date local information.

Keep important phone numbers by each phone in your home.

Know the best escape route from each room in your home.

Know where family members will meet in case they can't get home. One location should be near your home, and another should be outside the neighborhood.

Know your community's public alert system and your child's school emergency plan.

Take time now to create a family emergency preparedness plan, and then practice it with your family. Have periodic rehearsals, including some with the lights out. In an emergency, the electricity may be off. You should also prepare a first aid kit and emergency supplies to meet your family's needs for three days. Have at least these emergency supplies on hand:

Flashlight and extra batteries and/or a wind-up flashlight

Portable, battery-operated radio or television and extra batteries or wind-up models

Matches in a waterproof container

Water for drinking and household use (at least one gallon per person per day for three days)

Ready-to-eat canned foods to last three days

Manual can opener

Peanut butter, crackers, granola bars and other high-energy foods

Prescription medication

Disposable diapers, baby food, formula

Supplies for seniors or family members with special needs

Bleach, for disinfecting

Plastic bags and ties, for sanitation

Credit card and cash

Personal identification

Extra keys

Important documents, such as insurance policies

Put together a first aid kit containing these supplies:

First aid manual

Assortment of sterile adhesive bandages

Sterile gauze pads

Over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, antidiarrheal medication and activated charcoal

Antiseptic ointment

Soap

Latex gloves

Thermometer

Tongue depressors

Tweezers, needles

Arrange for a friend or relative to serve as a point of contact in case family members are separated. Because it may still be possible to call long distance when local phone lines are down, select someone out-of-state to be your emergency contact. Don't forget to plan what to do with your pets. They won't be permitted in public emergency shelters.

For more information, visit the Otsego County Department of Health's website at www.otsegocounty.com/depts/doh/ or call 547-4230.

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