With the worst of the storm's aftermath behind us, it's appropriate for local officials to look at how our communities can be better prepared next time a crippling storm hits.
Discussions at the local and county level about the need to have generators, gasoline supplies and alternative communications systems in place are a good place to start and we look forward to hearing what changes or additions local governments will put in place.
Local officials say they want to hear what the public has to say, so we urge local residents to do just that. Call your local officials, attend upcoming committee meetings or council meetings, take advantage of opportunities to share your personal experiences and suggestions for making response to severe weather go more smoothly next time.
But, don't forget there's a personal responsibility as well. Emergency management planners have long called for families and individuals - even businesses - to be prepared: purchase a generator, have adequate supplies of medicine, food and water on hand, have a battery operated radio for weather and other emergency reports, keep a full tank of gas, keep batteries and flashlights at the ready, know how to shut off utilities to your home, and so on. Many local residents were caught unprepared for lack of access to things we take for granted every day - electricity, gasoline, food and more. Luckily, we don't experience severe weather like this often, but it's likely to happen again. How prepared will you be?
More complete information about how to prepare your family for an emergency can be found at www.ready.gov. It also offeres information on how local residents can get more involved in helping their community be prepared. It's important to take action now so we can all be safer, and recover more quickly, the next time severe weather hits.