Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Sept. 10, 2010

September is Preparedness Month

The Oswego County Health Department wants to make sure that county residents are ready for an emergency during Preparedness Month this September. Do you have emergency supplies set aside in case there's a disaster? Does your family have an emergency plan?

"Planning for an emergency or disaster should be a priority for everyone," said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, director of the Oswego County Health Department. Dr. Norfleet suggests that Oswego County residents follow the Safe America Foundation's "Text First, Talk Second" initiative to raise public awareness of the importance of using text messaging for non-emergency communications during an emergency. It may be the best and quickest form of communication at such a time.

"Texting a message is much more likely to get through and is quicker than a phone call," said Dr. Norfleet. "Let everyone know you would like to practice how to get in touch via texting during an emergency. It's as simple as texting, 'I M OK' and 'R U OK?' If you have family members who are not familiar with texting, now is the time to teach them."

Dr. Norfleet added, "If 'I M OK' is too challenging, how about using the numbers corresponding to 'I M OK' - 4665? Just make sure everyone knows what the numbers mean."

September is also back-to-school time. Do you and your children know what to do if an emergency takes place during the school day? You should know what your child's school evacuation plan is and what will happen if there is an emergency at the school. Does the school send children home or to an alternate location? How will you be notified? If the disaster is in the community, does the school evacuate or shelter-in-place?

You should work with your children to create a plan so they know what to do in the event of an emergency. The plan should include how they can communicate with you and what to do if they are sent home.

It's important to talk to your children and other family members about how to prepare for emergencies before they take place. By taking these actions you and your family will be prepared and ready for an emergency situation.

To help get your family started, go to The Ready Kids Web site at www.ready.gov.kids. Ready Kids is a family-friendly, children-oriented tool to help parents and teachers educate children, ages 8-12, about emergencies and how they can help families better prepare.

The Web site has many fun activities, including scavenger hunt, matching game, crossword puzzles, coloring pages and important step-by-step instructions on what families can do to better prepare for emergencies and the role kids can play in that effort.

For more information about Public Health Emergency preparedness, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547.


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