September is Emergency Preparedness Month

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va -- September is National Emergency Preparedness month. The goal is to make sure everyone is ready before the next crisis.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said for the first time since 2007, every locality in the state has an emergency plan in place, but not everyone living in those areas is familiar with the plan where they live or even if it applies to them.

In 2007, Gov. McDonnell began requiring local governments to adopt emergency plans. In the five years since, some people who live in the area do not know what that means.

“I guess for many years I've been familiar that they have one, that the local agencies have one, but what's involved in it, what the plan is, no, I do not know that,” said Wesley Ford, a Rockingham County neighbor.

Another neighbor said he likes the idea of these emergency plans, but he never knew much about the one that applies to him.

“I think it's a good idea to have one, especially after the recent events, so it's a good idea. How well it's known and how well it's out there and available to the public, whether I missed it and it's my fault,” said Roger Frye, a Grottoes neighbor.

These plans the governor required, are basically procedures to follow if an emergency happens. Rockingham County's emergency plan is 330 pages long.

“The lot of what the plan is, is knowing your resources, knowing your people that you can call for help,” said Deputy Chief Jeffrey Michael with Rockingham County Fire and Rescue.

The guide offers suggestions to fire and rescue squads on how to prepare communities for disasters before they happen and how to clean up and get back to normal when the disasters are over.

“How do we mitigate? How do we take care of finalizing the emergency? And what do we need to do to continue on? The plan takes into accounts the residents, also it takes into account any people that are coming into the community.”

Considering the nature of National Preparedness Month, some people still want to be able to read their area's plan just in case.

“I don't know where you would put it, but if anything, it would probably be a good idea,” said Frye.

People interested in emergency preparedness can take a CERT courses. These courses educate people on how they can help during an emergency situation.


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