The month of September has been declared by FEMA as National Preparedness Month and the theme for 2019 is “Prepared, Not Scared.” September and October are, generally speaking, mild weather months for the State of Oklahoma, therefore Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Wendi Marcy encourages families to use these months to plan ahead for unexpected disasters.

"On Saturday September 28, 2019 from 9am – 2pm, Lincoln County Emergency Management along with several area fire departments and law enforcement agencies will be at Walmart in Chandler with an ample supply of emergency and disaster readiness information and response equipment on display.

Emergency Management staff will also be programming weather alert radios on site so residents can either purchase one on Saturday and have it programmed before they leave or bring one from home for staff to program for them.

In addition to the event on Saturday, Lincoln County Emergency Management has utilized donated funds to purchase weather alert radios and will be working with schools, day cares, nursing homes and county offices to ensure that each location has a working weather alert radio. “NOAA weather alert radios are one of the most reliable forms of severe weather warning we have these days and they are relatively inexpensive so we want to work on getting weather radios in as many places of public assembly as we can” Director Marcy stated.

National Preparedness Month is an excellent time for families to develop family emergency communications and evacuation plans, assemble a household emergency kits, and review their homeowner’s insurance policies says Marcy. Going in to winter, Marcy notes, it is important to consider life without utilities for an extended period of time. “Power outages are one of the most difficult aspects of disaster to manage in Oklahoma” Wendi says. You may not have been anywhere near “ground zero” where the disaster is concerned, but significant damage to utility infrastructure often results in long term utility outages for miles and miles around what is generally considered “ground zero.” It is important for families to know ahead of time what they plan to do in the event of a long term power outage and what that means for your family. For example, if you have a well for household water, a power outage means you not only do not have electricity, but you do not have water either. This may impact not only your household but any animals/livestock you might have.

Family emergency planning can be as simple as a dinner table conversation or as formal as a family meeting, what is most important is that the discussion takes place; regardless of how Marcy notes. As we continue to see footage of our costal neighbors who have lost everything or who have been displaced from home and/or work for extended periods of time, Marcy encourages all of us to think “what would I do if something like this happened to me” and begin planning for your family’s needs accordingly.