Happy New Year Gallatin! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is ready for a great new year in 2020. Many people like to start a new year with resolutions that usually have to deal with making themselves better in some form or fashion. Instead of a new year's resolution, I prefer to use the word: goal.
My goal for 2020 is to help the residents of Gallatin become more prepared for emergencies. (Also spend more time with my children, and spend less money on Amazon.)
During the coming year, you will be reading a series of articles that will help you recognize exactly which emergencies we need to be prepared for here in Gallatin and how you can best prepare your home and business for these emergencies.
Disasters can be created by nature such as winter weather storms, tornados, floods, or earthquakes. Unfortunately, humans can also create disasters from malicious acts such as bombs, shootings, fires, or civil disturbances.
Many residents of Gallatin remember the devastating tornado that whipped through town in April 2006 and the severe ice storm that hit in February 1994, leaving thousands of households crippled without power for weeks. Those of you who come to us from other parts of the country may be familiar with living through earthquakes or hurricanes.
No matter what type of disaster strikes, the most important lesson we are going to cover is to make your family prepared to survive on your own for 72 hours. Yes, that is three days that you need to be able to survive on your own if emergency agencies cannot respond. Right now you are probably thinking one of two things; No problem, I got this, or, Oh heck no, I can’t survive one hour without electricity or water!
No need to panic. We are going to cover all the bases so that in this new year, you will be prepared for any disaster that comes your way. Some of the natural disasters we are going to first talk about will be winter storms and power outages since this season is just about here (although I have thoroughly enjoyed the warm weeks we’ve had).
Then we will discuss flooding and tornados which are Gallatin’s' greatest natural disaster risks, followed by preparing for an earthquake. If you don’t know about the New Madrid fault, check it out online. I am a true believer in the saying, “It’s not a matter of if it will happen, it’s a matter of when it will happen.”
Important topics that will be covered for your disaster preparedness will be putting together your family’s survival kit, generator safety, financial preparation, your family emergency plan, shelter options, pet preparedness, and preparing medications and medical needs.
Today I want you to think about surviving the next 72 hours at your home without utilities. This could be as basic as having no electric, or as severe as also losing your water source. The first step in preparing is to have one gallon of water per person, per day, for three days.
If you do not have this, I challenge you to start the year off right and purchase a case of water the next time you go grocery shopping. You can buy a case of water bottles in small sizes, gallon jugs, or even five-gallon jugs. I personally like the one-gallon jugs and when my family goes on vacation we take them to use and buy new for our emergency supply.
For my family of five, we keep 15 gallons of water stored in our house and garage. I find that storing cases of water under the bed in an easy, out of the way place.
I hope that you will enjoy this year's emergency preparedness series and that by next year, everyone in Gallatin will be better prepared for anything that comes our way.
Stay safe and store up some water.
Elizabeth Bednarcik is the fire marshal at the Gallatin Fire Department – 615 452-2771;