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McHenry County agencies to residents: Be prepared for emergencies

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Emergency Management Agency and the McHenry County Department of Health are encouraging residents, businesses and communities in the county to prepare and plan for emergencies as part of September’s National Preparedness Month.  

Now in its ninth year, the campaign is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council. It aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

Over the past several years, Illinois has seen dozens of natural disasters, including blizzards, severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, that disrupt or even destroy homes and communities. These events usually happen without warning.

While emergency responders will react to communitywide crises, it is not possible to reach everyone affected by a disaster right away. Residents should take steps to prepare their families to go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services.

• Make a plan: Think about where family members will meet if there is a disaster. Think of who you and your family (locally and out of the area) will contact to let them know you are all safe. Discuss, agree on and write down an emergency plan. Sample plans are available at gearupgetready.org/where-will-you-reconnect-with-your-family. 

• Build a kit: Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and your family to last three days – water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, battery-powered radio, etc. For a checklist, visit gearupgetready.org/what-will-you-need. 

• Be informed: Local officials have information on emergencies that might affect your community, how to get information if a disaster happens and how to evacuate if necessary. Since April 2012, wireless emergency alerts (free informational text messages) are available on mobile devices from more than 100 service providers. All-hazard radios (formerly weather radios) also will keep residents informed of emergency situations. 

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