By Chris Davis, Assistant Chief, Charlotte Volunteer Fire Department, Emergency Management Director

Did you know that September is Nation Preparedness Month? With all the news lately the recent hurricane disaster in Texas and the south seems far away, but the video footage of total strangers and neighbors helping others in need is heartwarming and encouraging. Many of us will contribute to the response effort down south in some way, but there are some things we can do right here that might be very helpful should even a small extreme weather event hit our town.

If we are not hit with extreme rain, it could easily be a microburst storm event as we had earlier this summer in the west part of Charlotte, or a snow or ice storm. Are you ready? Do you have what you need on hand to shelter in place for three or more days if the roads are blocked and the power is out?

From past experience I can tell you that if all of us are able to remain self-sufficient and safe in our homes for at least three days during a severe weather event it can have a major impact on how quickly emergency services, municipal and private road crews, state agencies and the utility companies can restore essential services in our town. If those same response agencies are tasked with assisting citizens door-to-door or dealing with private vehicles and occupants that become stranded in water or snow, the work load can be overwhelming.

Please take a moment to review your own personal/family emergency plan. For tips on what you should consider for your plan and preparedness supplies go to this website for detailed lists and helpful suggestions.

You can get information on how to configure your mobile device to receive updates from Vermont or Federal Emergency Management regarding local storms or disasters at the FEMA website.

You and your family members and neighbors can really make a difference if and when the next severe weather event comes to Charlotte by being prepared to hold out in your home for at least three days.

A few of the most essential items on every list should be:

  • Have a plan for what you will do if you have to remain in your home for up to three days while roads are made safe and power is being restored.
  • Make sure your house and driveway are clearly marked if we need to reach you. You can order reflective address number signs at cvfrs.com/community-outreach.
  • Have essential supplies on hand such as water, flashlights/headlamps and spare batteries, essential prescription medications, nonperishable foods and a method to safely heat water and food without electricity.
  • A family contact/communication plan should cell phones become inoperable.
  • You should also have a plan for how you will care for pets and livestock, how you will supply them with water and feed, if the power is out for 3 to 5 days.

Now is a perfect time to get prepared, Charlotte! You can make a huge difference by being prepared before a major storm hits. If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact us at Charlotte Fire and Rescue, (802) 425-3111.