disaster preparednessIn recent days, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm with winds of over 180 miles an hour, tore through the Caribbean Islands. It is expected to hit Florida next.1 This comes in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which took a devastating toll on the people of southeast Texas after it made landfall on Aug. 26.2 Flood waters rose to record-breaking levels for days on end, causing an unprecedented number of deaths, injuries, rescue operations and evacuations in the region. Texas Governor Greg Abbott referred to the storm and its aftermath as “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced.”3

Although we cannot prevent, or always predict, terrible disasters like these, we can do our best to be prepared when they do happen. This is why Grantham University’s criminal justice faculty experts have put together the following disaster preparedness tips for you to follow so that you will be safe when the unexpected occurs.

1. Sign Up for Alerts and Warnings in Your Area

Drop what you’re doing, and take five minutes to sign up for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), made available through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) infrastructure. You can download these alerts on your smart phone, tablet or computer. WEAs are just one of the ways public safety officials can quickly and effectively alert and warn the public about serious emergencies.

You may also tune in to your local radio or television station for alerts from the Emergency Alert System – a national public warning system maintained by IPAWS that delivers information from the President during a national emergency, as well as weather information, imminent threats, AMBER alerts, and local incident information targeted to specific areas.

Additionally, set your dial to a local NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) station. NWR is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office.4

2. Pack a Disaster Preparedness Kit

Take a few minutes today to pack a disaster preparedness kit. Make sure to keep this kit in a convenient location in your home or car in case you must evacuate. A good rule of thumb to determine the quantity of an item to pack is a three-day supply for evacuation or a two-week supply for home.

Include the following supplies in this kit:

  • Water: Pack one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Food: All food must be non-perishable and easy-to-prepare, such as dry ramen, canned soups, dried fruits and nuts and other food items that require little to no preparation.
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area5

3. Know What Disasters to Prepare for and Create a PLAN!

Some areas may be more prone to certain types of disasters than other areas. For instance, if you live in California you may be more likely to experience a high-magnitude earthquake than if you live in New York City. And if you live in Kansas, the chances for a tornado may be a little more likely than a tsunami. Other natural and human-made disasters you may need to prepare for include:

  • Chemical emergencies
  • Droughts
  • Fires
  • Floods
  • Flu epidemics
  • Heat waves
  • Landslides
  • Winter storms6

Once you know what to anticipate, create a plan in advance for yourself, your friends, family and even your pets. With your family or household members, discuss how to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen and identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team.7

Learn More About Disaster Preparedness in Grantham’s Criminal Justice Program

Anyone and everyone should be prepared when a disaster strikes. And Grantham will arm you with the skills and knowledge to prepare for work protecting our nation from natural and man-made threats through our Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program.

Our Homeland Security Concentration can prepare you with the knowledge and skills you need to get your foot in the door to a career in emergency disaster planning and management, as well as law enforcement, corrections, investigations, cyber security, homeland defense and juvenile justice.

Apply now, and be sure to contact us for more information.

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