September is National Preparedness Month, and this year's theme is "Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How."
For Jeff Young, director of Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security, 5300 Strawberry Farms Blvd., in the Northland area, that means understanding what can threaten central Ohio and preparing accordingly.
Young said people in and around Franklin County need to think of terms of tornadoes, late-summer storms, flooding, severe heat and harsh winter weather.
"One of our jobs, and one of the things we rely on the media for, is to make people aware how that impacts them," Young said. "Disasters do happen and they seem to happen with a fair amount of frequency.
"I think it is important to us to think through that disasters do happen. You're never in a better position to prepare than before it occurs.
"It really, for us, revolves around preparation and knowledge."
"National Preparedness Month serves as a timely reminder that emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere without advance notice," said Kelly McGuire, public affairs officer for Franklin County Emergency Management. "The time to prepare is before disaster strikes.
"We encourage all residents to develop a plan, create an emergency supply kit for all family members and consider the unexpected costs that often arise after an emergency."
Ready.gov, the website of Homeland Security, recommends that a basic disaster-supply kit should contain:
* one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
* at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
* a battery-powered or handcrank radio and a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio with tone alert.
* flashlight, first-aid kit and extra batteries.
* whistle to signal for help.
* dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
* moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
* wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
* manual can opener for food.
* local maps.
* cellphone with chargers and a backup battery.
"It really revolves around having your own family communication plan," Young said. "Most families, particularly when you've got kids who are active, you need to think of having a supply kit in your house."
Ready.gov also recommends having emergency kits at work and in a vehicle.
Each week of National Preparedness Month stresses a different theme.
These will be promoted by Franklin County Emergency Management over social media, McGuire said.
The themes are:
* Sept. 9-15, learn life-saving skills, such as CPR and first aid.
* Sept. 16-22, check your insurance coverage.
* Sept. 23-29, save for an emergency.
Young said conducting an insurance review and financial plan in advance of disasters are areas some families ignore, and they are not something that can be pulled together overnight.