Fire chief outlines disaster preparedness

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 4:06 PM

Mike Mathieu


In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, be reminded of the importance of preparedness. No organization can prepare you better than you for your specific needs. A 72-hour kit differs significantly for each person or family based on special concerns, dietary and medical needs, pets, transportation, and other specifics.

Ask yourself, if power was disrupted for one week, what would your needs be and how would you meet them if you could not purchase anything close by? Are transportation routes open in case of a catastrophic event where bridges and roads are damaged? Consider filling your fuel tank when it gets below three-fourths to ensure plenty of fuel if disaster strikes. How much gas is in your vehicle now? Did you notice the fuel lines in New Jersey this past week? Once you have your household in order, collaborate with neighbors to help each other through an event.

The FEMA website ( has a downloadable Family Emergency Plan and instructions for building a personalized preparedness kit along with these and more tips:

• Understand the school’s plans for your children; where they will stay safe if you need to shelter separately until the immediate hazard passes.

• Find sources of emergency alerts in an accessible form if you do not speak English, are deaf, or hard of hearing.

• If you require accessible transportation, work with local disability service providers to make an emergency plan.

• Plan for adequate food for special dietary needs including supplies for infants and nursing mothers.

• Keep an adequate supply of medications and copies of prescriptions.

• Ensure service dogs will be admitted to shelters with you (as required by law), and bring food and supplies for the animal.

• Keep extra batteries for hearing aids, cell phones, etc. Consider a generator for home and carry a charger when traveling, especially if loss of power jeopardizes health or safety.

No local, state, or federal agency can fill all the gaps during an emergency for everyone’s personalized needs. Take it upon yourself to prepare for your specific situation for more than 72 hours as evidenced by recent disasters.

Mike Mathieu

Ogden city fire chief


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