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National preparedness month-plan ahead for every situation

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During the month of September, National Preparedness Month will focus on planning, with an overarching theme of “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.” The goal of NPM is to increase the overall number of people that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, school and place of worship. (Courtesy graphic)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

With hurricane season coming to an end and the winter season approaching, it is important to be prepared for any kind of situation.

Tech. Sgt. Samuel Norris, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron NCO in charge of emergency management flight, said with everything that has happened in Texas and Louisiana recently, it puts “a big exclamation point on National Preparedness Month, which runs through September.”

“I think one of the great things about preparedness month is that it reminds everyone and gives them an opportunity to look at their life and family to see if they’re ready to go,” Norris said.

“When I was an Airman I got deployed for a month to Keesler Air Force Base, and what we noticed at that time was that there are things you can do to prepare but sometimes there’s not,” he continued. “Some people had a little bit of a supplies, at least for a few days until they could figure out how to evacuate, but some didn’t, so they had to rely on the base at that time to take care of them.”

 Norris stressed the importance of having a plan for when things like power outages and tornados occur.

“You never know when the electricity will go out or when the budget gets tight,” he said. “You need extra supplies at the house and so what I suggest is that everybody has a plan for whatever it is- tornado, hurricane or bad weather, whatever the scenario is in your area.”

If evacuations are advised, Norris said it is important to brief your family on where to meet and what to do in that situation.

“If you look at people that are dealing with Hurricane Harvey right now, the initial questions are, ‘did they evacuate when they were supposed to, did they follow the guidance that was given by the government and did they have a plan for their own family?’” Norris continued.

He added the importance of keeping water, food, medication and cash in case of emergency.

As far as Schriever is concerned, Norris said nothing drastic has happened in the past, and thinks it is in a good location geographically. He does not foresee anything too threatening during the upcoming months.

“The biggest issues that you’re going to have are up at base housing,” he said. “We’ve had some fires that have encroached on the base in the past, and winter storms that hit every year. People need to make sure their vehicles and those kinds of things are prepared. Could the electricity go out at that point? Absolutely.”

The good thing about living here (on base) is that you have the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron and they keep the roads clear, so people don’t have an issue driving around on base,” Norris said. “But if you go out the front gate, that’s a different story.”

Norris stressed the uncertainty that comes with weather.

“You never know when something is going to happen,” he said. “You can’t prepare after the fact, you have to prepare before it happens.”

He suggested looking regionally what potential issues there could be, in Colorado it is primarily going to be the winter months that will be the most dangerous, but they are easier to prepare for.

Vehicles need to be winterized appropriately and everybody in the house needs to be prepped.

To personally prepare for the upcoming winter months, Norris suggested downloading “Air Force Be Ready,” a free app available to all Air Force personnel.

“The app is a really good resource for giving you good guidelines and a check list to prep for any kind of disaster situation,” he said. “If anybody wants to have a good list of things to do, the app will go through every kind of disaster to prepare, and it has a family preparedness kit that you can prep so you’re good to go.”

According to Staff Sgt. Morris Thomas, 50th Space Wing Safety Office occupational safety manager, the goal of NPM is to “increase the overall number of individuals, families and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, school and place of worship.”

To help support the goal of NPM, 50 CES will set-up an informational booth once a week in various locations and will have hand-outs that give step-by-step instructions for any kind of bad weather event that may occur.

Additionally, the safety office will host safety events and classes in Building 210, Room 148B.

For more information about NPM, visit ready.gov/september.

For questions about events and classes offered for NPM, contact Thomas at 567-2273(CARE).

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