The City of Westminster has an emergency plan to prepare for disasters, keep the community as safe as possible and to ensure continuation of critical services. The city also completed the 2010 Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan in the interest of emergency preparedness. However, everyone has a part in emergency preparedness -- you should have a plan, too.
Why Prepare for a Disaster?
Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Each disaster has lasting effects - people are seriously injured, some are killed, and property damage runs into the billions of dollars.
If a disaster occurs in our community, city government and disaster-relief organizations will help you, but you need to be ready as well. Have a family emergency plan. Our responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.
Being prepared and understanding what to do during a disaster can reduce fear, anxiety and losses. Communities, families and individuals should know what to do in a disaster and where to seek shelter if necessary. You and your family should be ready to evacuate your homes, take refuge in public shelters and know how to care for your basic medical needs.
You should also know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in our area - earthquakes, extreme cold or flooding and you should also be ready to be self sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation.
This guide can help. It was developed based upon information provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Colorado Office of Emergency Management and the City of Westminster Emergency Management Program. It contains step-by-step advice on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
While this guide focuses on the physical hazards of disasters, there are also the emotional effects of losing a loved one, a home, or treasured possessions. When under stress, people can become irritable, fatigued, hyperactive, angry and withdrawn. Children and older adults are especially vulnerable to post-disaster psychological effects.
Share this reference with your household. Include everyone in the planning process. Teach children how to respond to emergencies. Give them a sense of what to expect. Being prepared, understanding your risks and taking steps to reduce those risks can reduce the damages caused by hazards.