September is National Preparedness Month, with a multitude of federal, state and local agencies asking the question: Do You Have a Plan?

This year’s campaign is titled “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.” It is a call to action to think ahead and look beyond batteries and flashlights when making emergency preparedness plans for family members and pets.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately half of U.S. adults do not have the resources and plans in place for a potential emergency. 

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With the ongoing devastation in Texas, we are all reminded that you can never be too prepared to deal with what we all hope will never happen," reads a statement from Somerville's Office of Emergency Management.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens and first responders serving in Texas." the OEM statement continues." Do these brave men and women a favor and plan today. You get ready for a lot of things in life, shouldn't emergencies be one of them? During an emergency, it is easy to feel helpless. The best strategy to handle emergency situations is to prepare for the unexpected to the best of your ability."

If disaster strikes, access to food, water or electricity may be limited.

“The goal of National Preparedness Month is to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies throughout the year,” said Freeholder Patricia L Walsh, public health and safety liaison. “In New Jersey, hurricane season runs through November, but other disasters can happen at any time. That is why being prepared is essential.

“Recent events in Texas are a stark reminder of how devastating hurricanes can be,” she said.  “We can’t plan for every contingency, but we can minimize the effects of a disaster with careful planning and communication with loved ones.”

At the county level, National Preparedness Month is being promoted by the Somerset County Public Health & Safety Department, which includes the Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

The Department of Health and OEM offer these suggestions:

- Gather emergency supplies, including at least a three-day supply of food and water, health supplies, personal-care items, safety supplies, electronics and important documents;

- Make a plan of how you will contact loved ones and what steps you would take in different emergency situations; 

- Stay informed:  Sign up for local emergency alerts and tune into reliable news sources;

- Emergency communication plans for parents, kids and those traveling between work and home are available at www.ready.gov/make-a-plan. Important information can be filled in before printing or emailing to family and friends;

For information about emergency preparedness, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready Campaign at www.ready.gov and the New Jersey Department of Health at www.state.nj.us/health/er.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be focusing on specific communities of preparedness weekly at emergency.cdc.gov/npm/index.asp.

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