As we all approach the end to 2018 and the beginning of a new year, Lexington Emergency Management wants you, your family and friends to stop for a moment or two and resolve to be ready for the next emergency.
This year set a record for rainfall and with that brought flooding to low areas in Fayette County. If your home is susceptible to flooding, now is a good time to make sure that gutters are clean, downspouts are extended to push water away from the foundation and other drainage areas are free from debris.
We can’t emphasize enough the power of flood water, especially if they’re flowing over roads or rushing through creeks and ditches. Six inches of water can stop a car in its tracks. A foot of flowing water can push a car or truck off the road, leaving you stranded or worse. Remember: Turn around – Don’t drown!
Floodwaters aren’t a playground for children. There were several cases this year of children playing in floodwaters and being swept away and drowned. Keep children away from floodwaters.
Another significant emergency in Lexington was a windstorm that knocked out power to more than 150,000 people. It took nearly a week to restore electricity after trees and electric lines were blown down. You need to have a plan for an extended power outage. It can happen any season from winter blizzards and ice storms to spring and summer wind and thunderstorms.
While natural hazards are by their very nature unpredictable, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from past experience. Even though last winter may have been relatively mild, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t have a below zero cold snap, a serious snow or ice storm.
Kentuckians place great value on self-reliance and looking out for neighbors and friends. We’ve seen this time and time again when the state has been faced with natural disasters. This self-reliance serves as a cornerstone to building a culture of preparedness and readiness that serves all of our neighborhoods.
That culture starts in the home and community. At home, simple things such as family fire drills or assembling a home preparedness kit can make your family better prepared for any disaster. Knowing where you can get emergency alerts is essential. You should have at least three information sources you trust – Radio and television stations, email, websites, cell phone apps are a good start. In Lexington, you can sign up for LexAlerts. There are many other ways you can stay aware.
The most important small appliance in your home is a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. For about $30 you can be one of the first to know about severe weather advisories, watches and warnings.
You can also become more prepared by ensuring that you and your family are aware of the hazards that can impact your home. Start by checking that smoke, radon and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are functioning properly.
If you are so inclined, join a Community Emergency Response Team or volunteer with an agency of your choosing. We also encourage you to take a first aid, CPR and/or Stop the Bleed course.
We can’t prevent every disaster. But we can be better prepared when disaster strikes. Now is the time to make sure you and your community are ready.