National Preparedness Month

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Governor Doug Ducey has proclaimed September to be Arizona Preparedness Month in conjunction with National Preparedness Month, an effort to encourage everyone to prepare for potential emergencies. Wendy Smith-Reeve, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, will tell us more about preparing for emergencies.

TED SIMONS: September is national preparedness month, an effort to make sure that plans are in place to keep Americans prepared for any and all emergencies. Joining us now to explain Arizona's goal of increasing emergency preparedness is Wendy Smith-Reeve, deputy director of the state department of emergency and military affairs. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.


TED SIMONS: National preparedness month, what is this all about?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: The focus is more focusing on citizens and individual preparation for emergencies and events that could occur within your community, and affect your family directly.

TED SIMONS: As far as Arizona is concerned, what kind of emergencies are we talking about here?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: We are talking about flooding is a primary hazard that we face, wildland fire also impacts a lot of our communities within the state.

TED SIMONS: And extreme heat, I would imagine.


TED SIMONS: And at times even extreme cold.

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Power outage.

TED SIMONS: Some things that folks have gone through here. EL Nino, special concern this year?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Yes, very special concern. We are comparing it to the winter of 2009-2010. We saw extreme snow in the northern Arizona region and a lot of flooding. We had more than eight counties impacted as a result of those events from that winter.

TED SIMONS: And you want folks to be prepared. Okay. How should they be prepared?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Four things we want them to do primarily. Have a plan, build a kit, be informed, and inspire others to do the same.

TED SIMONS: Now having a plan, I would imagine means get an evacuation route. Make sure that everyone knows where a contact is or where a focal point could be, correct?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Correct. A meeting place, standard meeting place, having important contact information available to you. Also having an out of town contact. Sometimes it's easier to reach out to someone out of state because the communication channels within the state are compromised.

TED SIMONS: That's a very good idea. As far as building a kit, when you say build a kit, I see you have a lot of stuff here. Is that part of the kit?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: That's what we want you to do is create a kit with enough nonperishable food and potable water to last your family for at least 72 hours. That kit will be unique to each family. Some families only have two adults. Some have several children. Some have pets. Some have elderly family members living within their family, within their home. So, ensuring that you're addressing needs for everyone within your family.

TED SIMONS: Medications, food, obviously. What we have here containers for the medication and food, gloves, tools, basically stuff to get you by.

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Right. Absolutely. Don't forget first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, radio.

TED SIMONS: What about financial papers, identification, these sorts of things.

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Important papers, if you have to evacuate your home and then you have those in one place, one location, you can pick it up and go.

TED SIMONS: Okay. The fourth one was inspiring others.

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Yes, inspiring others within your family, within your community to ensure that they are also prepared to address any type of situation. So they're safe as well.

TED SIMONS: I know you have a PR campaign. It doesn't take a genius.

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: It doesn't take a genius to prepare for an emergency, only the smarts to know that you should. You don't have to be a survival expert. You don't have to spend a lot of money to make a plan, build a kit, be informed and inspire others.

TED SIMONS: Most of the things you brought on the set are things that you can hold for a while.


TED SIMONS: You can plan for Armageddon tomorrow, but if it doesn't happen tomorrow, you can still hold onto this stuff. In a year or two, this stuff will still be applicable.

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Yes, absolutely.

TED SIMONS: You also have - What's this Emergency kit cook off campaign?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: 5th year for the emergency kit cook-off campaign, we always do it surrounding preparedness month as a fun way to inspire people to be prepared. With the emergency kit cook-off, we ask people to submit recipes using nonperishable foods that they have in their kit, and those recipes, tasty recipes that you can use, and, of course, making it to where you can create the recipe without the use of certain luxuries, such as power. You don't want to be able to use a microwave or something like that. So, what can you do to use those nonperishable items and create a creative recipe. This year we're working with NASA.


WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Yes. The recipes, they're willing to test out several of the recipes on their astronauts to see what would be most tasty for them when they're up in space.

TED SIMONS: Does that suggest that some of the featured ingredients among them would be tang?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Tang is a featured ingredient. Yes, it is.

TED SIMONS: What are some of the other ingredients?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Some of the other ingredients, black beans, tang, dried fruit, honey, and freeze-dried eggs. Those are the five featured ingredients but we also ask you to utilize anything else you have within your emergency kit to build your recipe.

TED SIMONS: Which is a fun way to get you in the mood, the mode, this is something to keep in mind. Bottom line, what do people need to know? I know we have four categories there. Overall, what do we need to know?

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: You need to know where to find the information, who to contact. Who to know and who -- how to get yourself educated prior to an event. So, red cross, you know, salvation army. They have programs that can support you in helping you understand what to do. Knowing who the local county emergency managers are within your community. They're the ones that are going to be coming to support you and your community following an event.

TED SIMONS: Yes, be aware of all alternatives, options, and information. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

WENDY SMITH-REEVE: Thank you so much.

Wendy Smith-Reeve: deputy director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs

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