How can we better prepare? It is the question every public safety professional asks and the motivation behind everything we do. Better preparation allows for the best possible response to any incident. Often the incidents or disasters we prepare for are unplanned, happening with little to no warning. However, by training for the unexpected, we remain ready to respond.
While preparation is the foundation of public safety agencies, I can’t stress enough how important it is for the public to be prepared. As we observe National Preparedness Month, I recommend creating an actionable plan and setting it in motion. The four weeks of September provide an excellent opportunity to focus on the various aspects of preparedness to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Week One – Make A Hurricane Plan
In South Florida, it is never the wrong time to prepare for a hurricane. Gather drinking water, batteries, sanitation products and anything you and your family might need to weather a storm. Be sure there are enough supplies to last at least five days. If staying at home is not an option, know in advance where you will stay during a hurricane. For information about emergency evacuation, transportation and shelter locations, visit www.broward.org/hurricane.
Week Two – Create A Home Emergency Plan
When an emergency happens at home, ensure all family members know what to do and where to go. Create a communication plan so everyone can keep in contact. Create an evacuation plan and designate a meeting area. Take into consideration the ages and unique needs of each family member and pet. Ensure the items that may help you in an emergency, such as a fire extinguisher or smoke alarm, are working.
Week Three – Secure Your Sensitive Documents And Valuables
With a comprehensive plan in place, you can now focus on protecting sensitive documents and valuables. First, collect the documents you would need to help identify family members in the event of an emergency. Keep these and other important, sensitive documents, such as insurance papers, at home in a fireproof and waterproof box or safe.
Week Four – Teach Your Loved Ones About Preparedness Finally, review your plans with family members. Practice evacuation drills. Take courses together to learn survival skills. BSO offers free bleeding control and CPR courses. Sign up for one at
If each of us takes the time to prepare and stay prepared, it makes our whole community safer.
On a final note, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It was a day that changed everyone’s lives. I often still think of the brave first responders who started that morning like any other and rushed into the Twin Towers and Pentagon to do what they are expected to do on any given day. By continuing to honor them and all the innocent lives lost, we are keeping alive a stark reminder of the sacrifices our first responders make to protect others.
Let us not allow 9/11 to become just another date on the calendar. #NeverForget
Service Equals RewardSheriff Gregory Tony