by Patti Kay Wisniewski
With the Atlantic hurricane season in full swing, we should all remember to plan with our families to be able to quickly and safely leave our homes when severe weather threatens. We also take this time in September as a way to pay tribute to those who rush to the scenes of disasters like police and firefighters for their dedication to our safety and security.
How can you be ready? Make a plan, inform your family and neighbors of your plans, test your plan, gather food, water and other supplies for the few days you may be out of your home, and don’t forget your pets.
You can also sign up for local alerts to keep current on weather situations; document valuables; share telephone numbers and keep your cell phone charged as severe weather approaches your area. The www.Ready.gov website has resources to assist you further as you prepare.
EPA, working with local responders such as police, fire and haz-mat, as well as local water companies, continues to assist with preparedness efforts. In the Mid-Atlantic region, EPA sponsors training and exercises to ensure that your water company is aware of how severe weather could impact their operations and necessary steps to improve resiliency. These efforts ensure that there is water when the power goes out and that it remains safe for consumers to drink, cook and bathe. Keeping the water flowing also ensures firefighters have water to fight fires triggered by lightning strikes.
Throughout the month of September, EPA will be sharing tips with local water companies to guide them in their preparedness efforts to keep your drinking water safe, no matter the weather. Please consider doing your part to prepare yourself, your family and your pets.
About the author: Patti Kay Wisniewski has worked in the drinking water program for over 30 years covering such topics as emergency preparedness, consumer confidence reports, and the new electronic delivery option.