Simple steps to help prepare for emergencies
November 6, 2014
The Grand County Office of Emergency Management has instituted the CodeRED® Emergency Notification System that provides cellular phone or text messaging to inform registered participants during an emergency or disaster affecting their area of Grand County.
Examples of times when the CodeRED® system could be used include: evacuation notices, fires, flooding, hazardous materials spills, boil water notices, or missing child alerts. CodeRED will only be used for emergencies. Go to GCEMERGENCY.COM for more information and to register.
Visitors to Grand County can download the CodeRED alert app on smartphones. This application transmits geographically based notifications. While visiting Grand County you will be able to receive emergency notifications that could affect you.
“Do you know how to get in touch with your family if you are separated? Pick the same person for each family member to contact. It may be easier to reach someone who lives out of town in an area not affected by the emergency”
Another service that may be useful to county residents is 2-1-1. This service is designed to help any individual living in the Grand County area that may require assistance in the event of an evacuation or extended in-place sheltering. 2-1-1 is free and confidential.
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You can call 2-1-1 and ask to register yourself or a loved one, for the Special Needs Population Registry. In the event of an emergency, first responders will know in advance that you need special assistance. Assistance can be provided to, but is not limited to, persons who require oxygen or are ventilator-dependent, those who require life sustaining medication, residents with dementia, limited mobility, those who are unable to drive, or have a vision or hearing impairment.
For more information dial 2-1-1 or 1-866-485-0211 or go to GCEMERGENCY.COM.
Are you ready?
Emergencies can happen at any time. Are you prepared? Do you know two ways out of every room in your house in case of a fire? Every room has a door but it may not be the best way out. Locate an alternative, make sure it's a viable option (egress windows open easily, window wells are clear of debris and any covers on them are easily removed, any lock can be easily operated from the inside, etc…), and discuss it with all the members of your household. Practice safely.
Do you know how to get in touch with your family if you are separated? Pick the same person for each family member to contact. It may be easier to reach someone who lives out of town in an area not affected by the emergency. Unless you're in immediate danger, send a text. Texts are more likely to get through during an emergency and you won't be tying up phone lines that may be needed by emergency responders.
You should also have a "Where to go" and "How to get there" plan. Pick a meeting spot where you will meet up with your family if you have to get out of your house or your neighborhood quickly. If you need to leave your house you can meet "At Bob and Mary's house next door" or "At the big tree." If you need to leave your neighborhood plan to meet at the library, at a school, or the coffee shop.
With today's modern construction techniques and the technology used to make home furnishings you may have as little as three minutes to get out of your home in a house fire. Be aware by registering with CodeRED (and 2-1-1 if you'd like). Be ready by taking some time to develop an evacuation and communication plan, then practicing them.
What about the family pets? We'll be addressing planning in more detail in future columns. In the meantime you can send questions or comments to email@example.com.
Guy Kirouac is a guest columnist. He is a retired physics teacher who operates a small woodworking business from his home studio in Winter Park.