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Commentary: Let’s Be Ready, Alexandria
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Commentary: Let’s Be Ready, Alexandria

As National Preparedness Month ends, we want to take a final opportunity to bring this important subject to your attention. Most of us don’t think of Alexandria as a wild weather place. We don’t live in tornado alley, we’re not usually at risk for big hurricanes like Harvey and Irma, and until a few years ago we didn’t think much about earthquakes. But, over the last few years, Alexandrians have seen it all — blizzards, earthquakes, derechos, and other storms that have uprooted trees, taken down power lines, and left thousands of us in the dark, sometimes for days.

It’s important to make a plan for ourselves and our families. Make a plan to be ready; ensure you have the resources on hand that you and your family will need during the next unexpected emergency.

To start, ask yourself how prepared are you for the unexpected? If Alexandria was suddenly without power — including its homes, banks, grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations, and restaurants — do you have

a plan? Do you know how you will buy goods at stores that cannot accept debit or credit cards? Do you plan to always have extra gas in the car, so you won’t have to wait in line at one of the few open gas stations?

Do you know how you will communicate with, or where you will meet, your family if there is no cell service?

We don’t know when or where the next emergency will be, but we do know that it can happen, and can happen in Alexandria. During those emergencies, our first responders will work long hours, away from their own families, helping those of us who need it the most. We can help them by having a plan in place so their time can be spent helping others. September is National Preparedness Month, and a great time to take a few minutes to make sure that you’re prepared. Here are three simple steps you can take to Be Ready:

  • Be informed. The Alexandria eNews alert service lets you sign up to receive vital emergency alerts and information on more than 100 topics. Alerts and messages can be sent directly to your e-mail, cell phone, and other electronic devices. Don't miss out on important news and emergency alerts. Sign up today at alexandriava.gov/eNews.

  • Make a plan. Visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website for easy to use tools and suggestions to make a plan for you and your family. Keep important information and contact numbers handy. http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/makeaplan.

  • Build a kit. Use this checklist from ReadyVirginia.gov to make sure that you, your family, and your pets have what you need before the next emergency. http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/getakit.

The Alexandria Citizen Corps Council was established under the City Code in 2005 to advise and support the City Council of Alexandria to help Alexandria minimize the impact of disaster through prevention, preparation, and effective response measures. The Council meets on the

4th Monday of every other month at 7 p.m. at the Alexandria Fire Department Headquarters, 900 Second St. Members of the public are invited to attend and encouraged to get involved, as well as visit our website http://www.alexandriava.gov/CitizensCorps.