What is an emergency to you? It may be as simple as a cut finger. It could be a structure or wild-land fire. Or maybe it is a large summer storm bearing down on our area. In most cases those responses are planned for and somewhat predictable. We do know this much we are never sure when or what might happen. If we were able to know exactly what was going to happen they would not be emergencies.
All of the counties in Minnesota by Statute have to have an Emergency Management Department to help plan, prepare and mitigate some emergencies to help assure a smooth response to emergencies. The emergency manager helps to assure coordination of people, equipment, communications, and in many cases the training of all local responding agencies. The county has an emergency plan that was developed by local community officials, emergency responders such as: law enforcement, fire and EMS agencies. The plan is updated and reviewed by different agencies once a year. The plan is exercised through trainings and drills, which we call ("preparedness") each year. The county plan also addresses ways to get the community back to a normal, which we call ("Recovery"). The county also has a five year plan to figure out how to prevent or reduce the impact of future emergencies, which we call ("Mitigation'). The plan is written so that everyone involved in the emergency knows how to get outside help when we exceed the capabilities of our local resources.
The citizens of Cass County can play a big part in a disaster. The best way for our residents to be involved is to be prepared. If you take a look at all the things we were taught as kids, make sure all safety devices in your home are in working order. Do those fire drills and evacuation plans at home. The best thing we can all do is to be prepared as an individual household. The first 72 hours could be on you. As residents we should be able to survive without leaving our homes for 72 hours. I wonder if we can all do that.
If as an individual household we are prepared for that 72 hours we then will be able to help our neighbors and others in time of disaster. I would suggest maybe think about getting additional training. Maybe join your local fire department or become a first responder or possibly become a CERT member (Community Emergency Response Team).
We know one day we will have an emergency that may affect each and every one of us and it is much easier to deal with if we have planned as individuals. If you would like to find out more about preparedness Contact the Cass County Emergency Management Office 218-547-7437.