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Make and Practice Your Plan

GLEN BURNIE, MD (August 31,2018) – September 1-8 is focused on the “Make and Practice Your Plan” theme for September’s National Preparedness Month. Disaster can strike at any time and your family may not be together when it happens, so it is vital to make and practice a plan to ensure everyone knows how to react and communicate during an emergency. When developing a family emergency plan, consider the following:
 
How will my family receive emergency alerts and warnings?
 
Make sure all household members are able to receive alerts from local officials. Register for Anne Arundel County’s mass notification system at Office of Emergency Management’s website and follow us on Facebook at Anne Arundel County OEM, on Twitter at AACO Emergency Management, and on Instagram at annearundel_oem to receive emergency alerts and important information regarding emergencies.
 
How will my household get to a safe location if separated in an emergency?

Identify safe meeting places if family members are separated from one another in an emergency and unable to access your community or home. Develop a plan on where to meet and how everyone will arrive there. Select alternative locations to meet such as a relative’s, friend’s, or trusted neighbor’s home; a local coffee shop; your family church, etc. Be aware of the transportation available to all family members. Do you have two vehicles available? Is a co-worker, neighbor, or friend able to provide transportation in an emergency? Is public transportation available and will it be impacted by the emergency?

Develop a family/household emergency communications plan that includes:
 
● Phone Numbers (work, cellphones, office)
● Phone number for your trusted alternate meeting location(s)
● Phone number of a trusted point of contact outside the immediate area
● Email
● Social Media
● Medical Facilities, doctors, service providers
● School
 
While preparing your family consider family members in facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living, group homes, etc. by contacting the facility’s administrator to learn more about the facility’s emergency plans. Make sure the facility has your family’s communication plan and contact numbers in case of an evacuation.
 
How will my family/household stay in touch if cell phone, internet, or landlines are out of service?
 
While developing your family emergency plan consider the ways you can communicate if service affects cell phones, internet, or landlines. In some cases, texting will remain functional when overloaded phone lines cannot handle voice calls. Selecting a family member outside of the state is an alternative way to let loved ones know you are safe. Keep the message short: all you need to send is your location and the fact you are safe. Once you have developed your plan, make time to practice your plan with your family. Here are few tips for practicing your plan:
 
● Review your plan with everyone in the household
● Create family drills to implement your plan. Do not just drill for fires; include tornadoes, hurricanes, power outages, etc.
● Discuss with your family what happened during the drill, what everyone experienced, and update your plan if needed, to include adjusting meeting places and contact numbers
● Develop a schedule to conduct drills regularly
 
To learn more about emergency planning, join us at the Anne Arundel County Emergency Preparedness Expo on September 22, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Marley Station Mall in Glen Burnie. With over 45 exhibits and live demonstrations, this is a free, fun, and family-friendly way for people of all ages to learn more about emergency preparedness.

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