Ready Army Program promotes National Preparedness Month
By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /
Stay Informed. Make a plan. Build a kit. Get involved. These are the four pillars of the Ready Army Program that are in the spotlight this September for National Preparedness Month.
According to Tina Sandell, operations specialist/ emergency management for the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, following those four pillars will help keep Soldiers, civilians, and their families prepared for natural disasters.
“Of particular interest for Fort Benning, tornados appear from time to time with very little warning. It is very important to be prepared before as well as when they arrive,” Sandell said.
“The Fort Benning alert/warning system is one way for residents to self-register, to receive alerts and stay informed should severe weather occur,” she added.
It is important, when making a plan, to know how you and your family are going to react in case of an emergency.
“Establish a safe room in your house to go to in case of an emergency,” said Sandell. “Prepare your family by rehearsing practice drills in case of hazardous weather. For example, you could conduct a drill at noon, on Saturdays, when the ‘Giant Voice’ test sirens sound on Fort Benning, to rehearse your roles in an emergency situation.
“You should also establish a predetermined location so that if your family is separated in the event of a disaster, you have a rally point at which to reconnect,” said Sandell.
Sandell also mentioned the importance of having pre-packed supplies ready in case of an emergency.
“When you build a kit, you need to make sure that you have necessity items to include plenty of water, medications and a first aid kit available in case of injury,” Sandell said.
Sandell also stated that seeking shelter though storms can be scary for children and even adults, so additional kit items can be included to help them stay calm and remain calm in a tense situation.
“As part of your kit, include a book or a deck of cards for you to play with while waiting out a storm in your safe room,” said Sandell.
Hopefully you will never need to execute this plan however, “It is better to have a plan and not need it, then need a plan and not have one,” said Sandell.
The Ready Army Program also promotes the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System as another way for families and friends to be informed on their status during or after a natural disaster.
Sandell explained that the ADPAAS is an accountability system that contains contact information for family members so that if something were to happen to them, their personal contact information would be available for reference, from spouse to next of kin.
Although preparedness information is available throughout the month in areas on Fort Benning to educate residents on severe weather preparation, more information on how to be informed, make a plan, build a kit and get involved, or for a full list of things you’d need to be prepared in case of an emergency, can be found at http://www.acsim.army.mil/readyarmy/.