September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. This nationwide effort encourages Americans
to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.
At NIH, the ORS Division of Emergency Preparedness and Coordination (DEPC) is the principal emergency planning resource and is responsible for coordinating all resources essential to emergency planning and preparedness functions. DEPC develops and issues emergency plans for all NIH facilities, on- and off-campus.
DEPC also stresses personal and family emergency planning activities. Its web site (http://ser.ors.od.nih.gov/emergency_prep.htm) offers information on creating
an emergency family plan and an e-copy of the NIH Emergency Preparedness
Handbook, which includes information on preparing a household emergency preparedness “go-kit.”
“Emergency preparedness is critical,” said Michael Spillane, DEPC director. “While corporately the NIH is well prepared for any and all types of emergency and disaster situations, it is also crucial for individuals and families to prepare themselves for the full gamut of emergency conditions that could affect any of us at any time.
“September is the peak of the hurricane season and severe winter weather is just around the corner,” he noted. “2008 has been a record year for tornados and flooding across the country. A major earthquake recently hit southern California.
Home fires occur daily without warning. No individual or location is immune from emergency incidents of varying magnitudes. We must remember that catastrophic events do occur and will continue to happen, so we must be vigilant and prepared.”
He urges that families be aware of what emergency assistance local governments are prepared to provide, but also realize that they may have to survive for several
days until critical services may be restored. “Effective planning can make the difference between successfully recovering from an emergency incident—or the catastrophic alternative,” he said. “During National Emergency Preparedness
Month, take the time to review your family’s emergency plans and revise them as necessary; talk to everyone, including children, about the importance of emergency planning; and check your emergency supplies to ensure that they are fully stocked and that none are outdated.”
For more information contact DEPC at (301) 496-1985 or visit their web site.