Plan for an emergency now

April 20, 2006

This week a group of Maryland's emergency services workers gathered in Laurel, Md., for hear from R. David Paulison, the new head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Paulison, who was refreshing candid about FEMA's previous problems, told the workers that educating the public is their most important job.

We agree. While citizens depend on emergency services workers for many things, promoting self-reliance among able-bodied citizens would free those workers to take care of the elderly and the disabled.

But assuming that an emergency strikes before this education process is completed, what should you do?

Emergency-services providers who attended Tuesday's meeting were advised to tell the folks back home the following:

Have enough food, water and prescription medicine available for three days, so that in the event of flooding or a power outage, you need not leave your home.


Think about how you would cope without power for an extended period of time. Our recommendation would be to make sure there flashlights with fresh batteries and a battery-powered radio in the house.

Have an emergency plan for your family. If a violent storm hits during a day when everyone is away from the house, decide in advance where you will try to meet and whom you will call to let them know everyone is OK.

Don't assume that, just because you have an SUV, you can drive through standing water. It's never a good idea, because if the engine is flooded, you'll be stuck in the middle. At that point you might find, to your chagrin, that not thinking about such things ahead of time was a mistake.

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