John “JP” Petersen, Community Relations Coordinator for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency discussed their mission, coordination of comprehensive emergency preparedness, training, response, recovery and mitigation services in order to save lives, protect our state’s economy and reduce the impact of emergencies. As a division within the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) they must be ready for any kind of disaster situation, from national security incidents, chemical spills or power plant failures, to natural disasters including flooding, tornados, hurricanes and more. Being informed is paramount, he advises us to learn our flood risk at DE.gov/floodrisk and to purchase National Flood Insurance if available. Next JP stresses that we must get prepared for any emergency, with a plan and a kit for evacuation or sheltering in place. He suggests we visit DE.gov/evacroutes and reminds us they have a saying, ‘Turn around, don’t drown’ as a car can be floated in as little as 2 feet of water. To learn what to pack and how to prepare your family visit ready.gov and definitely download DEMA’s apps to get the latest information during an emergency. Find them all at PREPAREDE.org. DEMA will be hosting a Family Emergency Preparedness Day September 17th as part of National Preparedness Month, get details at their website.
As part of being prepared we discussed knowing how families can connect after an emergency and he discussed Delaware’s leading initiative for schools, a training program for ‘Reunification for School Emergencies’ for educators or youth leaders.