Residents urged to be prepared

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In honor of September’s “National Preparedness Month,” the Dallas County Citizen Corps Council will hold its annual “Be Ready Day” Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bloch Park.

In partnership with the Dallas County Emergency Management Agency, members of the community can donate blood, receive a flu shot from the Dallas County Health Department’s drive through clinic, and get information from local agencies on how to stay prepared during emergencies and disasters during the event.

Citizen Corps president Jeff Cothran said being prepared in case of a disaster is absolutely vital.

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“Every individual in this community needs to have some level of preparedness — it’s just common sense,” Cothran said. “Have a ‘Be Ready kit’, with canned food, flashlight with batteries (and) water. Have something on hand to be ready for a couple of days.”

“Get drug prescriptions beforehand (and) fill your car up with gas,” Cothran said. “If individuals can take initiative, it will release a lot of stress on the system.”

EMA interim director Rhonda Abbott said being prepared is important, even for students.

“Be Ready allows children to meet first responders and learn how to prepare themselves for an emergency,” Abbott said. “We have all local responders involved with fire trucks, police and deputy cars, forestry equipment, ambulances and other emergency response vehicles all displayed for the community to view. Be ready is a fun day for all ages.”

Buying renter’s insurance before disaster strikes, Cothran said, is also crucial.

“Get a price on it … it’s not that expensive,” Cothran said. “It’s far less cheaper than having to replace everything if lost. If you’re a property owner, make sure coverage is up to date … have a plan or idea of what you’re gonna do to evacuate your pets. Take pictures of everything you own.”

The state also launched a program to encourage faith-based and community organizations to develop an all-purpose disaster plan.

The campaign, Abbott said, encourages organizations to include preparedness materials in their bulletins and newsletters, and to speak to their congregations on the importance of emergency preparedness. The event will culminate on Oct. 4 at 5 p.m. inside the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center with a forum sponsored by Dallas County Citizen Corps and EMA. For more information, call 874-2515.
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