Op-ed: Being prepared is not just for Scouts

  • By Susan Johnson
  • Saturday, September 3, 2016 7:07pm
  • Opinion

No matter where you live, a natural disaster can strike at any time. Here in the Northwest, we’re told to expect the next big earthquake at any time. Many of our majestic mountains are dormant volcanos. The natural beauty of our forests can turn into horrible forest fires from a carelessly thrown cigarette butt. Extreme winter storms are a serious risk. Floods are common throughout our region and we also get the occasional tornado. While disasters are sometimes instantly fatal, survival often depends on whether you are prepared.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services maintains the Health Emergency Response Operations (HERO) website with information on how to prepare for all the above disasters and more.

Are you and your family ready for a disaster? The CDC offers three simple steps to be prepared:

— Get a Kit

— Make a Plan

— Be Informed

Your kit will include items like food and water, health supplies, personal care items, safety supplies, electronics, important documents, extra cash, and your emergency plan.

Your emergency plan will include a family communication plan and a family disaster plan. Your disaster plan should include safe spots in your home for disasters like earthquakes, multiple meeting places, and the best escape routes from your home. You should practice your contingencies as a family.

If a family member is very young, older, or has special medical needs, your planning will need to be more extensive. You’ll also need supplies for your four-legged family members.

You can stay informed by signing up for alerts from your emergency management agency. A NOAA weather radio (battery-powered, solar, or hand-crank) can provide updates. The Alaska Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management provides information, as do municipal Emergency Management pages. Emergency Management Essentials provides other information for Alaskans.

Preparedness will differ depending on where you live, including whether you live in an urban or rural area. However, no matter where you live, and what potential disasters you face, you should always be ready. Being prepared — it’s not just for scouts!

Susan Johnson is Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region 10.

More in Opinion

Opinion: The mobs widening America’s divisions

We’ve just been forced to deal with stark disagreements on a daily basis like never before.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Now is not the time to leave Alaskans out in the cold

Now is the perfect time for legislators to get in touch with their constituents and to act in their best interests.

Anselm Staack (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s fiscally irresponsible and deceptive plan

Constitutions are about broad policy objectives and legal boundaries — not about the day-to-day.

New direction for the Tongass will help grow businesses, a sustainable economy

Now is the time to chart a new course for Southeast’s future.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink promotes getting immunized with the flu shot this winter. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)
Immunize when you winterize

An annual flu shot plus the COVID-19 vaccine protects Alaskans and our health care system, too.

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s first act as governor was unconstitutional

That’s according to a ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John Sedwick.

This Aug. 3, 2021, photo shows Juneau International Airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration shared recommendations on Thursday for improving aviation safety in the state. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: How the FAA will improve the margin of aviation safety in Alaska

Alaska depends on aviation more than any other state…

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Perspective of an educator in a ‘high-risk’ group, part 2

During some of the darkest days of my time in ICU, it was obvious where we all live is a special place.

Lawmakers havereturned to the Alaska State Capitol for a fourth special session. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Revenues should be determined before more PFD spending

The governor believes the dividend drives the entire calculation. Sadly, he has it backwards

Ronnie Leach. (Photo provided)
Point of View: For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, #weareresilient

At the onset of COVID-19, we expanded our services in a way to ensure COVID-19 consciousness.

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion:Where’s Don Young when America needs him?

Once upon a time, avoiding political controversy was completely out of character for Young.

Peter Zuyus
Voices of the Peninsula: Seniors appreciate vaccination efforts

To those who have worked to encourage vaccination we say: Be proud, you are, in fact, saving lives.