Residents in Delaware are no strangers to witnessing major weather events. While the state may have been spared by Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy, the storms are examples of why it's important for families and businesses to prepare for severe weather and other disasters.
Preparation was the message Wednesday afternoon when Delaware officials Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and more kicked off National Emergency Preparedness Month at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency east of Smyrna.
Gov. Markell said it takes multiple agencies in the state including DelDOT, the National Guard, and the Department of Agriculture to get the state ready for possible storms.
"Bottom line it's a shared responsibility," Markell said. "We are committed at leaving no stone unturned when it comes to our preparations for these events."
Furthermore, Markell said making preparations now will help prevent massive problems.
"We need Delaware [residents] to act now to prepare for the next event whether it happens in six days, six weeks or six months from now."
Sen. Carper used a quote his grandmother said during his childhood: a stitch in time saves nine. He said as a child he had no idea what she meant but now knows it means people need to get ready and be prepared. Sen. Carper said in Delaware all hands are on deck for storm preparation. He also pointed out that if Hurricane Sandy had moved 50 miles west last year, Delaware would've been significantly hit.
Patrick Delaney, regional executive for the American Red Cross Delmarva Region, said National Emergency Preparedness Month is a critical time for residents and businesses to prepare.
"Disaster can happen anytime, anywhere whether it's a big hurricane or a fire," Delaney said. "Preparation is important because you don't always know when it's coming."
Delaney urged individuals and families to build a kit, make a plan and be informed. He said smartphones help because the phones and social media keep people aware.
Jamie Turner, director of the DEMA, like other speakers stressed the importance of everyone – including residents – working together as a team. He said Delaware's emergency plans with the various agencies have been developed, maintained and nurtured over a long period of time.
Turned suggested residents check on neighbors and use social media to stay informed during a storm. He also said people should attend the seventh annual Family Emergency Preparedness Day on Saturday, Sept. 21. The program is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Delaware Agriculture Museum and Village in Dover. The day will feature exhibits and interactive demonstrations. Attendees will also receive help developing their family disaster plan, get preparedness tips, and learn more about preparedness in the community.
"There's no perfect storm," Turner said. "The perfect storm is the one we prevent."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.