The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 21, 2013

We should be better prepared


DANVILLE — Beginning today, the Commercial-News — with the help of Community Newspapers News Service — will take a look at how local officials prepare for natural disasters. The series will appear during the next four Sundays as well.

Each area of the country must plan for its own set of possible natural disasters. Here in the Midwest, we’re entering the season for tornadoes and floods, but we also must consider winter’s blizzards and even a possible earthquake since we live within the New Madrid fault zone. In Vermilion County, we’ve added a look at the potential problem created by a hazardous material spill along Interstate 74 or on one of the rail lines that slice through the area.

Emergency officials unanimously tell residents the best way to survive a disaster is to prepare before one occurs.

Ted Fisher, head of Vermilion County’s Emergency Management Agency, said everyone — businesses as well as families — should have a plan.

Families should have enough food and water for everyone — including pets — to get them through at least three days on their own. They should decide where family members will gather after a disaster, and how to communicate with one another if they are separated when a disaster hits. And everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, should know what to do.

In these days of computers and wireless Internet, it’s easy to forget that communication can dissolve in an instant if a disaster knocks out power. A simple battery powered radio — with plenty of extra batteries — can allow families to know what’s going on and how to stay safe.

These seem like such simple steps, yet many families neglect them until it’s too late.

Take a few minutes to put together a plan and stock up on supplies. Mother Nature might not wait to come calling.