City of Independence, Missouri

Do you have an emergency plan? September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The City of Independence is joining local, state and federal partners in sharing information as part of National Emergency Preparedness Month this September. To help citizens prepare for emergencies here are three steps with information and resources to help you complete them from the City’s Emergency Preparedness Division, part of the Independence Fire Department.

Step one - build a plan. Ask yourself these questions: How does my household receive emergency alerts? What is my shelter plan? What is my family/household communication plan? The website ready.gov has a variety of resources including: an explanation of emergency alerts and when you might receive them; an overview of what type of shelters families should consider for different emergencies; and how to make an emergency communication plan. Once you have a plan in place, families should practice the plan at least twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter. Consider all members of the household and what they will need including children and pets. Make sure to also include any medical needs and the different locations you frequent.

Step two - build an emergency kit for home, car, work and pets. Think about what you will need in each location and plan accordingly.

For your home - During an emergency, you may not be able to get food or water for days or weeks, and your electricity may not be working. The following items should be part of your emergency kit and kept in a container that can be easily carried if you need to leave home:

  • Water - families should set aside one gallon of water per person per day, to last three days.
  • Canned or dried food - families should set aside a three-day supply of food per person. The food should be nonperishable items that do not need to be cooked, such as tuna and crackers. Remember to include a manual can opener. If there is an infant in the house, include formula and baby food.
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries for the radio and flashlight
  • List of prescription medications
  • First-aid kit

For your car - Keep a small, portable emergency supply kit in your car at all times. You should include a gallon of water, several cans of food, a manual can opener, blankets, sleeping bags, money, and first-aid supplies.

For work - Keep your own supply of fresh water and canned food, a flashlight, and battery-powered radio at your desk or in your locker. Everyone should consider keeping a change of clothes and a pair of strong, practical shoes or boots at work.

For your pets - Make sure your pets have identification tags and up-to-date vaccinations. If you must leave home, bring your pet with you, if possible. You can plan ahead by creating a supply kit for your pet that includes extra food, water and medications. A carrier and leash will also be important. For cats, remember to include extra litter.

Step three – Listen for information about what to do and where to go during an actual emergency. It is important to stay calm in an emergency. Get as much information about the situation as possible. If there is no electricity, make sure to have a battery-powered radio with extra batteries so you can listen for updates and instructions.

City, county, and state officials have developed emergency plans. In the event of an actual emergency, it is important to follow their instructions and advice. They will provide you with the latest information.

The City of Independence uses a city-wide system of outdoor warning sirens that will sound when a tornado warning is in effect for the City. A “Tornado Warning” occurs when an actual tornado is spotted or sustained winds of 60 miles per hour or more are clocked. This is opposed to a “Tornado Watch” which is issued when weather conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado. Sirens are not sounded for watches.

Finally, there are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs. The City of Independence Emergency Preparedness Division can help you find a volunteer opportunity to take action in your community. Community leaders agree that the formula for ensuring a safer community consists of trained volunteers and informed individuals taking action to increase the support of emergency response agencies during disasters. Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies, empowering individuals to lend support.

The Emergency Preparedness Division has several volunteer programs that offer volunteer opportunities for residents:

  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): The CERT responds to all kinds of disasters and emergency incidents. CERT can provide search and rescue, mass care, damage assessment, command post support, communications, basic first aid support, and many other services.
  • Emergency Communications Services (ECS): provide electronic communications and radio support to the Emergency Operations Centers and field operations.
  • Disaster Animal Rescue Team (DART): when evacuations due to disaster occur, DART helps rescue and care for pets and other animals.
  • Mass Care: The Mass Care Team works with the Department of Parks and Recreation to support sheltering and feeding operations after a disaster.
  • Storm Spotters: The Storm Spotters watch and report on dangerous or severe weather.
  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Management Team (EMANT): This team manages and directly supports EOC operations.

Those interested in volunteering should call (816) 325-7167 or email jbird@indepmo.org.

For more resources on planning for an emergency including a list of monthly classes, visit indep.us/emergencypreparedness and follow the City’s social media accounts for tips and resources all month long.