Department of Public Health
Thomas Carbone, Director of Public Health
36 Bartlet St.
Andover, MA 01810
Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Andover Health Division Reminds Residents of National Preparedness Month
ANDOVER — To coincide with National Preparedness Month in September, the Andover Health Division would like to provide residents with tips on preparing for emergency situations.
National Preparedness Month is meant to educate people on planning, staying safe, and communicating during disasters and emergencies that could affect where they live, work, or visit.
This year, National Preparedness Month will focus on planning, with an overarching theme “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.” As severe weather continues to affect other parts of the country, the Andover Health Division would like to specifically remind residents about hurricane preparedness.
“It is always important to be prepared for severe weather this time of year, and unfortunately, the devastation that the Gulf Coast is experiencing is a reminder of that,” said Thomas Carbone, Andover Director of Public Health. “We urge residents to plan for all types of emergencies, whether a hurricane or a blizzard, to ensure that everyone knows what to do when it’s time to take action.”
Although Andover is not in an evacuation zone, residents should still be aware of hurricane evacuation zones in the event they are visiting somewhere prone to flooding. Residents should also establish an emergency plan and gather adequate supplies in the event of a power outage by following tips outlined by Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA):
- Stay informed through the Massachusetts Alerts App, which provides warnings and public safety alerts from MEMA.
- Have an emergency kit ready that is sustainable for 72 hours. It should include bottled water, food, a flashlight, a radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, sanitation items, cash and a charged cell-phone. Be sure to customize your kit to your family requirements as needed.
- Fully charge your cell phone, laptop and any other devices before the storm.
- If you have life-support devices (home dialysis, suction, breathing machines, etc.) that depend on electricity, contact your local electric company about your power needs in advance of an emergency. Some utility companies will put you on a priority re-connection service list.
- If you receive medical treatment or home health care services, work with your medical provider to determine how to maintain care and service if you are unable to leave your home or have to evacuate.
- If you take medication, make sure you bring enough for at least seven days. Also bring a list of your prescriptions in the event you need medical help or need to refill them while away from home.
- Ensure your family has a plan to shelter-in-place for at least 72 hours.
- Avoid driving or going outdoors during a storm. Flooding and damaging winds can make traveling dangerous.
- If you must go out after the storm, do not walk through flowing water. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Remember the phrase “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!” Don’t drive through flooded roads. Cars can be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water.
- After the storm, clean and disinfect anything that got wet, and take steps to prevent and detect mold. Consider using professional cleaning and repair services. See more tips to recover from flooding.
- Throw away food (including canned items), that has come into contact with floodwaters, was exposed to temperatures above 40 °F for more than two hours, or has an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
In order to be prepared for any emergency situation, Andover Health encourages residents to follow these tips provided by The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
- Be informed. Sign up for emergency alerts and call 2-1-1 for information about critical health and human services available in your community. Andover residents can sign up for emergency alerts through the town’s CodeRED system here.
- Assign roles. Communicating with family members is essential to make sure everyone is okay. Discuss with your family what should be done in case of limited cell phone service. Assign a mutual contact out of the region or state so that person can help keep tabs on you and your loved ones.
- Make a plan. Make plans with your family and friends in case you’re not together during an emergency. Discuss how you’ll contact each other, where you’ll meet, and what you’ll do in different situations. Read how to develop a family disaster plan here.
- Be prepared. Every home should have a basic emergency preparedness kit that can be used for any emergency. Store your kit in an area that is dry and easy to get to. Review your kit every six months to identify and replace outdated supplies. Find guidelines about what to include in your emergency preparedness kit here.
Additionally, Carbone reminds pet owners to be prepared to evacuate with their animals. If you must evacuate with pets, be sure to bring items your animal will need including a crate or carrier, food, water, rabies/immunization records, medications, license and an identification tag along with a harness or leash.
Residents who want to get involved and help out during an emergency event can do so by volunteering with a local Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) unit, Red Cross unit or Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). For more information, visit the MRC website, the Red Cross website or the CERT website.
For more information about preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm, visit MEMA’s website. For more information about National Preparedness Month and how to prepare for emergencies, residents can visit Ready.gov.