Don’t wait for the weather forecast announcing bad weather is imminent — sit down with your family and make an emergency plan now. The first step is being sure you get the most accurate current information in the event of a disaster. The best way to assure access to this information is subscribing to Gila County Health and Emergency Management’s Everbridge free service.
Everbridge is a mass messaging system that provides targeted emergency alerts in Gila County. By getting critical emergency information out to the public accurately and efficiently, Everbridge supports the work of emergency response agencies countywide.
Gila County Emergency Management’s Carl Melford is quick to point out that making the messaging geo-specific helps Gila County avoid overmessaging users, something he takes very seriously. Melford pledges that the system will never be used for advertising, only emergency alerts for events such as fires, smoke advisories and severe weather. Everbridge automatically pushes out all National Weather Service severe weather alerts.
“If something were to happen in your area, Everbridge is one of the ways to find out and stay safe,” says Melford.
Users do not have to be full-time Gila County residents to register, making it a great option for those with second homes in the area.
In order to sign up, users have to provide only an address and phone number where they’d like to receive alerts.
Sign up for targeted emergency alerts from Everbridge at www.readygila.com or by calling 928-402-8789. Members of the public can sign up for Everbridge with as little as a name, address, and phone number.
Next, in the event there is an evacuation order issued, the plan should include escape routes from home, work and school and a designated meeting place.
The ready.gov website recommends everyone have a basic disaster supplies kit, whether they must evacuate or shelter in their home. To assemble the kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put the entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.
A basic emergency supply kit could include:
• Water — one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food — at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
• First aid kit
• Extra batteries
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Manual can opener for food
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:
• Prescription medications and non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives; glasses and contact lens solution; feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
• Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
• Pet food and extra water for your pet
• Cash or traveler’s checks
• Important family documents — insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
• Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
• Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
• Fire extinguisher
• Matches in a waterproof container
• Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
• Paper and pencil
• Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Maintaining the kit
After assembling the kit, remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed: keep canned food in a cool, dry place; store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers; replace expired items as needed; and re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.