Tennesseans encouraged to make emergency preparedness a priority - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tennesseans encouraged to make emergency preparedness a priority

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NASHVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- Numerous Tennessee agencies are asking Tennesseans to participate in National Preparedness Month, the annual month-long campaign designed to make emergency preparedness a priority. The theme of the ninth nationwide effort is "Pledge to Prepare".

"National Preparedness Month is an important reminder for us all to prepare and take an active role in the event of an accidental emergency, natural disaster or an act of terrorism," Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. "Disasters are typically sudden and unpredictable. Families, businesses and communities should have a minimum level of preparedness to sustain themselves until help arrives."   

In the past three years, eight Presidentially declared disasters have impacted well over half of Tennessee. James Bassham, Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, emphasizes the need for every individual, every family and every home to have at least a basic preparedness kit ready in case of emergencies.

"People need to be prepared today for what could happen tomorrow," Bassham said. "If you don't know what you need for a basic kit, you can download TEMA's ReadyTN smartphone application or go online and find plenty of resources about the essentials for a kit."

Commissioner Gibbons also noted that the 9/11 terrorists attacks on the United States should prompt citizens to prepare for potential man-made disasters. Tennesseans should be vigilant and report any unusual behavior, packages or devices to local law enforcement or the state's Homeland Security Office.

"Unfortunately, terrorism is a very real part of our lives today. However, everyone can make a difference by actively participating in homeland security. Preparing for a terrorist attack is much the same as it is for other emergencies…be alert, remain informed and be prepared; most importantly, ‘If you see something, say something,'" Assistant Commissioner and Homeland Security Advisor David W. Purkey said.

Tennesseans can report suspicious activities online at www.tn.gov/homelandsecurity/report_susp_act.shtml or by calling 1(877) 250-2333, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Department of Health also participates in emergency response and preparation, and urges all Tennesseans to have a family plan for disasters and an emergency supply kit prepared at home.
                
"Don't wait until an emergency occurs to start thinking about how you'll feed your family, where you'll take shelter, how to take care of those with special needs or how you'll locate loved ones," said Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. "Take time to make or update a plan now so you'll be ready before a disaster strikes."

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