MADISON, Wis. — Disasters happen, which is why it’s important for everyone in Wisconsin to learn how they can protect themselves, their family, and their community. To help encourage everyone to be ready, Gov. Tony Evers has declared September Preparedness Month in Wisconsin. The declaration coincides with the observance of National Preparedness Month.
“Preparedness month is the time for everyone to review personal plans to ensure they can take to care of themselves and their loved ones during a disaster,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and homeland security advisor. “Public officials will do all we can to ensure public safety; however, it is incumbent on each of us to have a personal plan – a family plan. It’s the flash light in the closet, the candles in the drawer, the water, food and medicine for family and pets. You can count on us to do our part, but the most important part is yours.”
“During the past year, Wisconsin has seen damage caused by flooding, tornadoes, and heavy snow,” said Dr. Darrell Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “Disasters can strike at any time, which is why it’s so important to be prepared.”
During the month of September, ReadyWisconsin asks everyone to review four key areas:
Prepare financially for a disaster
- Review your insurance policy to make sure you have adequate coverage for your home and other property. Remember that most policies do not cover flood damage, which will typically require its own policy.
- Have copies of important financial and personal documents in a safe location. Create digital backups that can be stored online in a secure account.
- Build up your savings. During a disaster, you may need a reserve of money available if you are forced to leave your home, are unable to work, or are waiting for an insurance payment.
Create or update your disaster plans
- Write a family emergency plan in the event a disaster or emergency forces you to remain at home for several days, or if you were forced to leave the area quickly. Practice the plan.
- Create a family communications plan, which includes important contacts to notify in an emergency. Be sure to include an out-of-town contact, such as a family member or close friend.
- Make a disaster kit that includes key supplies, such as water, non-perishable foods, a first aid kit, and any medications you are taking. Don’t forget to include supplies for your pets!
Teach children about preparedness
- Talk to your children about what to do during an emergency at home, school, or when they are away. Make sure they know who to contact and identify a safe meeting place.
- Many schools in Wisconsin offer the Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) program to 5th grade students. If you have a child in 5th grade, ask their teacher to register for this free program offered by ReadyWisconsin, which teaches students about the important of preparing for disasters. Find out more at https://readywisconsin.wi.gov/step/
- Update your contact information at your child’s school and designate a backup emergency contact who is authorized to pick your child up if needed.
Prepare your community for a disaster
- Identify the types of disasters that are most likely to affect your community and the resources that would be available to respond to them.
- Get involved with local volunteer organizations that may be able to aid your community during a disaster.
- If you are disabled or have other special needs, identify and contact community resources that are available in your area. Many organizations maintain lists of people who may need help during a disaster.
“Taking time before a disaster strikes to review your plans, talk to your family, and find out what resources are available in your community can go a long way towards making sure you and your family remain safe,” Williams said. “Preparedness Month is a great time to make sure you are ready when the time comes.”