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National Preparedness Month: OEM Gets Ready [SERIES/AUDIO]

As National Preparedness Month presses on, officials around the state want you to know you can count on them if and when disaster strikes.

Hurricane Sandy
Andrew Burton, Getty Images

Not only should you be in the process of readying yourself and your family for any eventuality, staffers in the Office of Emergency Management in the state and local communities are getting themselves set too.

In the last three years, New Jersey has seen a crippling blizzard, two hurricanes, an earthquake, a tornado, derecho rain storms and even a small tsunami. In part one of our series, we took an in-depth look at being informed. It’s a critical element of any preparedness plan and something most of us don’t take seriously.

Emergencies can strike at anytime with or without warning. In some cases, the dangers that loom can be seen days before, like a coming storm.

Imagine how things would have been if we had no warning that Superstorm Sandy was upon us until after. Would there have been more casualties? More property damage? Most likely, the answer is yes.

Other incidents like a nuclear accident or act of terrorism can’t be seen on any radar screen. This makes being informed even more critical both before, during and after any type of crisis.

“We are ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice for any issue. Think of us as the support vehicle for residents and the municipalities,” Lieutenant Keith Klements from Ocean County’s OEM says.

In addition to listening for information, making your plan and having a kit, Klements says everyone should heed all warnings when things are calm and perform safety drills in your home with your family.

During the last few years, Mother Nature has kept emergency management offices busy. Officials continue to push for full cooperation, especially in a time of crisis. That means following all directions, especially during an evacuation order.

Klements says when Irene and Sandy forced people from their homes “some didn’t listen to the message, putting themselves and their families in harms way. We want everyone to trust us during critical times.”

Residents are urged to follow all instructions from their local leaders and when in doubt, you can call your county’s office of emergency management to talk about your concerns.

For more information, visit The Ocean County Health Department’s website.  For specifics on how to be better prepared, visit the FEMA website.

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