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The Federal Emergency Management Agency is asking people to evaluate their levels of emergency preparedness during September, which has been designated National Preparedness Month.
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The Federal Emergency Management Agency is asking people to evaluate their levels of disaster preparedness during September, which has been designated National Preparedness Month.
According to Clear Creek County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, wildfires are the area’s top risk for a disaster that could occur. But, residents should still think about events like snowstorms and flooding, too.
Ronnie Warren is FEMA’s regional training manager for Region 8, which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. He sees being prepared as a way to instill confidence in yourself and your family.
“When you’re prepared, you have that self-confidence in that ability to provide for yourself and your family in that moment that is complete chaos,” Warren said. “It just takes a lot of worry away when you have a plan in place.”
Warren encouraged people in Colorado to think about some things often taken for granted, such as writing down and memorizing phone numbers, being oriented without the help of an electronic device and making plans for how to get family and pets out of the house safely.
Clear Creek County Director of Emergency Management Susan Boccia said there is a level of responsibility people take on when they move to this part of the country.
“Our residents and businesses chose the mountains for their beauty, recreation and solitude," Boccia said. "What comes with that is a responsibility to be aware of the risks of wildfire, flooding and heavy snow, and what to do if those occur. Working together, the people of Clear Creek County can help one another be prepared to be safe during disasters and recover quickly."
Boccia and Warren agreed on some essential items to keep in the car and home in case of disaster, including water, stable food, important documents, blankets, pet supplies and flashlights. A more complete list and other resources can be found on FEMA’s website at ready.gov.
This year, FEMA’s theme for National Preparedness Month is “a lasting legacy.”
The agency wants to promote protecting the lives and legacies people have created. Warren explained that in Region 8, the month is being broken down into four weekly themes. The first week is “prepare yourself,” the second week is “household preparedness,” the third week is “pets/service animals" and the fourth week is “youth.”
Boccia said one of the most essential things people in Clear Creek can do is be informed and discuss their disaster plans. The Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office offers emergency alerts that can keep residents up to date on emergencies.
“We want everyone in Clear Creek County to protect their legacy and plan for disaster," she said. "It might sound scary to talk about disasters. But talking through a scenario with your family, friends and neighbors lets you ask questions and think through what you need to be safe. This starts by planning ahead."
Boccia recommended that people sign up for local emergency alerts on the sheriff’s office's webpage at https://www.co.clear-creek.co.us/761/Sheriffs-Office.
"These emergency alerts will provide critical information to help you make decisions,” she said
While getting kits together and everything prepared can seem expensive, Warren wants to remind people that preparedness is for all.
“Being prepared doesn’t mean you have to be a wealthy individual,” he said. “Everyone can take the time to prepare a little bit at a time.”
Free resources, including training sessions and information on how to build a preparedness plan and kit, are available online at ready.gov/september.
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