‘The 72-Hour Survival Plan’ offeredWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
If a sudden disaster struck your neighborhood, would you be prepared? To better equip the public to handle such a situation, the topic of the next Ready U session, “The 72-Hour Survival Plan,” is emergency preparedness.
The free, hourlong presentation is set for 7 p.m. March 28 at the Main Library, 325 N. Michigan St.
Chief Michael Wolever of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department will discuss steps to be taken in an emergency situation, starting with first aid.
“Once those needs are taken care of, then you look at ‘Do I have water? Do I have food? Do I have clothing that will allow me to be warm in the winter and keep the heat and sun off me in the summer? Do I have the medication I need to survive?’” Wolever said. “So those are the kind of things we’ll talk about.”
Sheri Meeker, community disaster education specialist for the Red Cross of Greater Toledo, said she hopes the event will raise awareness and prompt people to think about a plan.
“Most people are not prepared,” Meeker said. “When we had flooding and when we had a grain elevator fire and people had to evacuate right away, many people didn’t have a plan for their pets, didn’t know what medications to have.”
Catastrophic incidents can temporarily delay emergency response services due to disrupted lines of communication, blocked travel routes or simply the magnitude of the emergency, Wolever said.
“I want to make sure people understand that there are emergencies of such magnitude that first responders may actually be family members or neighbors, and they have to be prepared to act as such,” Wolever said. “And then beyond that they have to survive and be self-sufficient for we’re saying 72 hours, but it could be even longer than that. Certainly for the first 72 hours, they very well need to survive without the help they are accustomed to getting by picking up the phone and calling.”
The recent tsunami in Japan has tragically highlighted the importance of having a plan in the case of unexpected and catastrophic events, Wolever said.
“In Japan I’m sure many, many people were aided by their neighbors because the rescue teams were several hours out,” Wolever said. “The U.S. sent two rescue teams over, but they’re not getting there in minutes. For hours and days people had to survive on their own and help their neighbors survive. And we had the same thing in New Orleans and Texas and the same thing here, not to that extent, but in Lake Township last year when the tornado went through. Neighbors were helping neighbors and in a big disaster, that’s where the first responders come from.”
Wolever said he hopes people will come away seeing the benefit of preparation.
“I hope they take away that one, there are limitations to what public services can do in a disaster, and two, they have to accept some responsibility for their own well-being immediately following a disaster and how to go about doing that,” Wolever said.
Blizzard Bill Spencer of 13abc will give a short presentation at the end of the session about severe weather and tornado safety, Meeker said.
An example disaster kit will be available to look at.
Ready U, a 10-session yearlong series presented by the Red Cross of Greater Toledo and the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency, is designed to educate the public and prepare individuals and families for potential emergencies in Northwest Ohio.
Attendees will receive reusable grocery bags and have a chance to win raffle prizes, including gift certificates from The Andersons, Meeker said.
Toledo Free Press is a media sponsor for the Ready U program.