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You are the help until help arrives

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Dramatic images from recent hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and crises too numerous to mention, show people struggling to help their neighbors escape danger, provide life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and offer shelter from a storm until help arrives. 

All too often, when disaster strikes, it is common for everyday people to find themselves in a position to be a first responder. That is why this September -- National Preparedness Month -- we should all embrace the personal responsibility to be prepared for a disaster, and consider getting training in first aid or other emergency skills.  

"Knowing what to do when a disaster strikes could be the difference between life and death," says Collin County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim McCrone.

While firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics and other emergency responders do an incredible job keeping us safe, they aren't always nearby, and they can't do it alone.  Comprehensive preparedness, as pointed out in FEMA's preparedness training, requires the whole community to be prepared.

"We are all safer," McCrone add, "when we look out for one another and pull together as a community." 

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Fortunately, becoming more prepared isn't as difficult as you might think. Whether it's your home, neighborhood, workplace or school, simple steps can make a big difference. Communication plans among family members, sharing phone numbers with neighbors, and knowing basic first aid, represent fundamental first steps in disaster preparedness.

Of course, disaster kits, a three-day supply of food and water, medicine, and a plan for your pets are planning staples. But there's more that everyone can do. To help you improve your plans there are plenty of resources available on-line and in your community to help.    

To learn more about personal and community preparedness plans and programs, check out www.Ready.gov, www.fema.gov or www.redcross.org. Also, look for any community emergency response teams, citizen corps, medical reserve corps, or faith-based organizati​ons that might be meeting in your neighborhood. When the whole community comes together to respond to and help recover from emergencies, all of our lives are more safe and secure.       

For more information about individual, family, and community preparedness, please visit the wbesites above, or call the Collin County Office of Emergency Management at 972-548-4383.