Modified: September 6, 2019 8:14am

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September 5, 2019
CONTACT: Kara Kane 
Email: kara.kane@erie.gov  
Phone: (716) 858-4941



Erie County Department of Health encourages residents to #BeReady

ERIE COUNTY, NY— During the month of September, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is joining with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to promote the importance of being prepared for potential emergencies and disasters.


“Residents in Erie County can take steps at any time to prepare in very practical ways for emergency situations, and we’re encouraging people to have a plan before a disaster strikes,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “It’s important to plan ahead and to think through what the impact of a major weather event, flood or fire would be on your household or business, and what you need to do to maintain your personal health and safety.”


FEMA and its “Prepared, Not Scared” campaign through Ready.gov offer four weeks of themes for preparedness.


Save Early for Disaster Costs (September 1-7)

The costs associated with a disaster and its aftermath can create a financial burden. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for property and vehicles; you may need a separate policy for flood insurance. And, keep some cash available in a safe place. If the power is out, ATMs and credit card readers may not work, and cash would be needed to pay for food, gas or hotels.



Make a Plan to Prepare for Disasters (September 8-14)

No matter where you live, you can determine what the most likely type of emergency to affect your area would be. Here in Western New York, severe weather like thunderstorms and snow events may knock out power or make travel by car dangerous. Other emergencies, like a fire or flooded basement, can happen in any residence. Practice fire escape plans and evacuating your home, and include all individuals and animals in your household in that practice. And as another important safety measure, learn how to turn off utilities like natural gas service in your home.


The ReadyErie preparedness app gives Erie County residents the ability to make and share emergency plans on their smart phones, and to receive timely information from official Erie County sources during emergencies. These include weather alerts, road closures, available emergency services and evacuation maps and shelters. Download the app from www.erie.gov/readyerie or through the Google Play (Android devices) or App Store (Apple devices).


Erie County also offers a Functional Needs Registry Form for individuals in Erie County who have a disability or a special medical need. Erie County residents can use this voluntary and confidential form to share details about specific needs that could be important for emergency personnel to know. [http://www2.erie.gov/emergencyservices/index.php?q=functional-needs-registry-form]


Teach Youth to Prepare for Disasters (September 15-21)

Children can be involved in emergency planning activities. Kids can take an active role in preparing emergency kits for home and vehicles. Make sure that children know how they could communicate in an emergency, including memorizing parents and other close friends’ or families’ cell phone numbers, how to send a text message, who they could contact if their parents are not available, and how and when to dial 9-1-1.


Get Involved in Your Community’s Preparedness (September 22-30)

In an emergency, everyone’s skills can be valuable. On an individual level, you can prepare yourself with classes in CPR or first aid. Check with your neighbors - especially if they are elderly, have a disability or a chronic medical condition, or have young children – and talk about how you would help each other in a weather emergency.


Within your community, volunteer fire departments are generally in need of members. In an emergency, they can be on the front lines of a response. Also, Erie County’s SMART (Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team) is a volunteer public health emergency response organization, and accepts applications for medical and non-medical volunteers. [http://www.erie.gov/smart].


ECDOH is sharing messages and tips about preparedness throughout September through its social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.