Quijano Offers Up Tips to Help NJ Residents Prepare for Emergencies as Part of September’s National Preparedness Month

Assembly Homeland Security Chair will Host a Special Committee Meeting on September 10 in Elizabeth in Recognition of National Preparedness Month

As part of National Preparedness Month in September, Assembly Homeland Security Committee Chair Annette Quijano is urging New Jersey residents to learn how to be better prepared in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Quijano is also hosting a special meeting of the Assembly Homeland Security Committee in order to recognize September as National Preparedness Month. The committee will hear a slate of bills related to homeland security and emergency preparedness. The meeting will take place outside of the Statehouse in the Council Chambers of Elizabeth City Hall, 50 Winfield Scott Plaza, Elizabeth, NJ on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 2 p.m.

“New Jersey is no stranger to emergencies, whether it’s a manmade or natural disaster,’ said Quijano (D-Union). “Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, and the severe snowstorms this past year are potent reminders of why we can never be too prepared. We need to learn how to be ready for these events so we can then help our neighbors be prepared as well.”

As part of the month’s events, Quijano is once again partnering with the United Way of Greater Union County and the American Red Cross to stage “Are You Ready?” Emergency Preparedness Presentations as part of an awareness campaign aimed at helping New Jersey residents prepare to tackle unforeseen emergency situations. The training is conducted by American Red Cross volunteers, while local and state elected and public safety officials speak to the audience about emergency preparedness as it pertains to their jurisdictions.

So far, three presentations are slated at different senior centers in Elizabeth and an estimated 325 senior citizens are expected to be on hand to learn how to be prepared in the event of an emergency situation.

At the conclusion of each event, audience members are given a starter “go-bag” containing essential items needed during an emergency and a folder with more information on preparedness. The bags were made possible through various donations from corporate sponsors and non-profit organizations. In 2012 and 2013, more than 1,700 people were educated about emergency preparedness through the “Are You Ready?” campaign and so far in 2014 more than 650 people have been educated.

Quijano also recommends that residents visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website, which advises every household to take three steps when preparing for a disaster: 1. Get a kit 2. Make a plan 3. Be informed.

All households should establish a plan to know exactly what to do in case a disaster occurs. Residents should also create an emergency kit with essential items in case they are asked to evacuate. Lastly, everyone is encouraged to keep informed about the kinds of disasters that are most likely to strike our region.

The Red Cross also offers a suite of free mobile apps which provide users with access to up-to-date information regarding weather and disaster threats, as well as steps to take before, during, and after a disaster or emergency. These apps are now available in Spanish as well, allowing users to alternate between English and Spanish as they wish. For more information, visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare.

In conjunction with National Preparedness Month, FEMA is also urging everyone to take part in America’s PrepareAthon!, a community-based initiative encouraging action in order to boost preparedness. Individuals and organizations are called upon to partake in drills, group discussions, and exercises to prepare for local disasters. Participants can plan their own activities, local community events, or organizational preparedness events.

Additionally, the second National Day of Action will take place on September 30, 2014 and will revolve around preparing for earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and winter storms. To learn more, visit http://www.community.fema.gov/connect.ti/AmericasPrepareathon.