Did you know that over thirty percent of families and small businesses experience a bankruptcy after something as simple as a small fire? September is National Preparedness Month and CBJ Emergency Programs wants to encourage you to take a few moments to prepare.
With some basic preparedness you can be ready for a multitude of situations. Juneau is home to many hazards, from landslides to jökulhlaups, from avalanches to high winds. One of the tricks in Juneau is to know your geography to best understand the hazards you face. For example, do you live in the Mendenhall Valley? If you do, have you taken the time to look at the new flood maps on the Community Development website? If Juneau had a jökulhlaup and a rain flooding event occur at the same time, Juneau has the potential to see flooding beyond historic proportions. Do you know if your home is located in the potential flood zones?
Are you prepared for landslides and avalanches? While you might not live in a hazard zone, most Juneau residents drive through them every day. During a routine drive to work in the winter, you may find that town is suddenly dissected by an avalanche or landslide. Roads are blocked and power is out. Do you have any supplies with you for an extended outing in town?
Even a simple fall drive out the road has its hazards. Something as simple as a failing alternator could leave you stranded out the road. With all the rain Juneau gets, did you bring any rain gear or boots? How about some water or warmer clothes? What if it had been a windstorm and a tree fell across the road? Any chance you have an ax in the back of the car? Or a tow strap to maybe tow it out of the way?
These questions are meant to get you thinking, because you may find yourself in one of these scenarios. Other real emergencies include a car accident or a grease fire in the kitchen from frying fish. In many or all of these situations, a Go Bag can come in handy. One inside the car and another at home with the few essentials to help you work through difficult times; items like: copies of critical documents, extra reading glasses, prescriptions, a change of clothes, a set of raingear, boots, hat and gloves, First Aid kit, water, critical contacts, a family communication and reunification plan, and pet food. The list goes on, but these things (or others specific to your needs) will help you transition through a difficult phase and may even save your life.
Take time to prepare for yourself and your family. Do it now while you have time and can work on the little things that make a difference during difficult times. The time to prepare for an emergency is not when one is happening. For more information on preparing in Alaska visit ready.alaska.gov.