Ready or not: Are you well prepared in 2009?

Published 3:15 pm Friday, January 9, 2009

Mishap, misfortune, emergency, calamity, disaster, catastrophe, tragedy, distress and misery. The question looms, “Are you truly prepared?”

One of our New Year’s resolutions should be to be better prepared in 2009.

Ready or not, natural or man-made emergencies storm into our lives, leaving us reeling from the consequences. We live in an at-risk environment, in a world of the unexpected where our safe and contented lives can be interrupted suddenly.

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Some emergencies affect only one person, a few individuals or at most an entire family.

Other widespread disasters bring devastation and suffering on a larger scale and affect a neighborhood, a city or even the entire county.

Perhaps you and your family avoided the misfortune of a personal or community-wide tragedy in 2008. However, last year many families faced fires, medical emergencies, criminal acts, weather-related emergencies, hazardous materials spills and other crisis situations.

The potential for personal calamity or a devastating disaster is ever present, but all is not doom and gloom. Disaster preparedness is a personal responsibility, and you can change the impact of an emergency on your life by being better prepared.

The steps you take today to plan and prepare can make the difference between safety or injury and even life or death.

In this Sunday’s edition of The Tribune, you will find a colorful insert that focuses on being better prepared. We want you to read, keep and use the insert as an important preparedness tool in your home or workplace.

On one side you will see a boldly printed message “WE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED.” In case of an emergency, you can place this message card into the window that is most visible from the road to show that you know about the emergency and that you do not need help.

On the flip side, you will find information to help you plan and prepare for an emergency.

The Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency and the Local Emergency Planning Committee have partnered with the DuPont-Sunoco-Sun Coke Community Advisory Panel and the Dow-Americas Styrenics-Duke Energy-Rumpke Community Advisory Panel to publish and distribute this free planning resource.

In 2009, you can better prepare by following a few simple steps. First of all, make an emergency or disaster plan. Individuals, families, neighborhoods, schools and businesses all need to know what to do and where to go when an emergency occurs.

Secondly, build a 72-hour or three-day disaster supplies kit. Whether you are sheltering or evacuating, a disaster supplies kit can save the lives of you, your family, your neighbors or your co-workers.

Thirdly, be informed. Take time to learn about the types of emergencies or disasters that might affect you and your community. This is an important step to being better prepared.

Lastly, get involved in your own preparedness and your neighbor’s preparedness. Serve as a community volunteer with a goal of helping others to become more prepared.

From neighborhood watch groups to emergency response organizations there are many volunteer opportunities in our county.

To assist your preparedness efforts, many educational tools, agencies, events and activities are available locally, or you can access online resources such as,, and

Will you and your family be better prepared in 2009? You might not face an emergency this year, next year or even in the next ten years, but you should prepare like it could happen today.

Mike Boster is director of the Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency. He can be reached at (740) 533-4375 or through the Local Emergency Planning Committee at (740) 534-5804.