On November 9, 2011, at 2 pm, LancasterCounty will join the rest of the nation in having a national test of the Emergency Alert System, or EAS. This is the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system in alerting the public.
The test will last approximately three minutes and is like the ones you hear now for severe weather or child abductions or other civil emergencies. The only difference is this will be a nation-wide test conducted at the same time. So as to minimize disruption and confusion, the test is being conducted on November 9 because this date is near the end of hurricane season and before the severe winter weather season begins.
The test will clearly state, “This is a test.” Do you though know what to do in the event of a true emergency?
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) gives these tips:
- Store emergency supplies. The ADA suggests having at least three days worth of medical supplies on hand in your emergency kit. Therefore if you take, for example, Metformin twice a day, then you would need to include six pills in your kit. Be sure to label them and store them in a dry container, perhaps an old pill container. If you need batteries for an insulin pump, include them in your kit.
- Keep an updated list of emergency contacts. The list should include the name and number at minimum. You may want to also include a note as to relationship, for example: spouse, mother, neighbor, priest, etc.
In addition to medically related items, FEMA – the Federal Emergency Management Agency – recommends:
- Three days worth of non-perishable food.
- Water. FEMA suggests a gallon per person per day. A family of four therefore would need 12 gallons a day for drinking and sanitation.
- A first aid kit.
- Battery operated radio and batteries.
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Cell phone with chargers.
- Can opener.
- Basic tools, like a wrench, to turn off gas lines or other utilities.
- Moist towelettes for sanitation and personal hygiene.
- Mess kits. Pack one for each person.
- Pet care items. Your pet will still need food and water supplies as well.
- Sleeping bags or warm blankets for each person.
- Cash. Depending on the emergency, stores may loose electric and not be able to process credit or debit cards.
Regardless of what the emergency is, life will flow smoother if you have a plan. Know what to do ahead of time to avoid a panic situation in the event of an emergency. Remember also the test on the 9th of November is just that – a test.