On Tuesday, emergency responders from around the central Kenai Peninsula had an opportunity to practice their response technique during a mass casualty drill at the Kenai Municipal Airport. The airport is required to conduct the drill every three years, and lessons learned are used to improve the response plan in the event of an emergency.
While most of us hopefully won’t have to deal with a passenger plane crash, we should all take a page from the first responders’ playbook and prepare for the extreme situations we are likely to face. As we we’ve said many times, here in Alaska, it’s not a matter of if, but when a disaster will strike. Just in the past few years, we’ve had earthquakes, wildfires and flooding. We’re only a few years removed from the most recent volcanic eruption. And as we move toward winter, we know extreme cold or a severe storm could hit at any time.
Now is the time to take stock of your emergency preparedness — before the next emergency comes along. In the event of an emergency, how many of us actually have seven days of food and water for ourselves and our family? Are there fresh batteries in your home’s smoke alarms? Are supplies for the pets accounted for as well? How about essential medications? Could we survive without electricity for a few days? Where are the flashlights? In the event of an evacuation, do we know what we need to take with us? Are there emergency supplies and gear in our cars, including winter clothing and blankets? After all, you don’t need to drive too far to be in a wilderness situation here.
A good place to start is with an emergency kit and an emergency plan. The state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has good information online at https://www.ak-prepared.com, including tips to put together an “Alaska 7-Day Emergency Kit.” The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management webpage, http://www.kpb.us/emergency-mgmt, also has links to emergency preparedness information.
While you’re at it, check with your friends and neighbors who may, for whatever reason, need some extra help. We may be rugged individuals, but we also look after each other.
Remember, a little time spent preparing now can ensure that the next emergency will be just an inconvenience, and not a reason to panic.