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MAINE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
From the Director: September Begins "Preparedness Year"
September 18, 2009
This message begins what I hope will be an ongoing dialogue with Maine people about getting better prepared for emergencies.
This September has been designated as National Preparedness Month. Governor Baldacci has declared it to be Preparedness Month in Maine, as well. But a Preparedness Month is over quickly. It has lasting meaning only if we use it to think about what we can do to be safer all year round.
We have plenty of challenges to be concerned with in Maine. Over the last year we have experienced repeated flooding, severe winds and record-breaking snow. An ice storm last December caused millions of dollars worth of damage. And, although we missed the full force of Hurricane Bill, its furious surf tragically took a young life.
As we look forward to the year ahead, we have the potential for not only all those hazards, but we are also confronted with an entirely new challenge. We are watching the spread of the H1N1 virus throughout the State and across the country. We don’t know exactly how severely Maine will be affected, but we know that in some way it will affect all of us, and we need to be prepared.
But what does being prepared really mean?
If you’re a public official, of course it means making sure your emergency manager, public safety agencies, first responders and schools have good response plans and that they practice those plans. It means looking at your community as a whole and thinking about what you can do for yourselves, and what help you might need. It involves everyone in the community as partners – government and businesses, schools and citizens – working together to weather the next storm, whether its an ice storm or the flu.
If you’re a business owner, more than just your bottom line is at stake, and you are at risk from more than just the emergency in your town. What happens to your suppliers and your customers affects you, though they may be hundreds or thousands of miles away. If your employees are sure their families are safe, they can take care of your business better during a crisis. And lastly, you have a stake in the resilience of your community as a whole. The faster everyone gets back on their feet, the faster your business will recover.
If you are a resident of Maine, preparedness really begins with you. You may have many challenges facing you. For many families, there are additional economic challenges, or perhaps a family member that has unique medical needs. All of us are moving in different directions, and preparing for emergencies is maybe something you haven’t stopped to think about. But if your family has everything it needs to stay connected, and stay safe and warm through a flu epidemic or an ice storm, you have made Maine better prepared.
The weekend of September 19, all weekend newspapers will contain an insert called “Maine Prepares.” Pull it out and keep it. The insert will start you off on a full year of ideas about steps you can take each day, week and month to become better prepared for any emergency, often without spending a dime. This monthly calendar will give you plenty to think about and do, all year long. You’ll also find special information on the H1N1 flu. EDITOR's NOTE: If you missed the insert in the paper, read it online.
Each month I will also be offering a personal message here on the MEMA and Maine Prepares web sites. We’ll take a look together at some specific challenges facing Maine, and how Maine Prepares.
I welcome your comments as we explore preparedness together this year. Please, contact me, and let me know your thoughts.
Sincerely, Rob McAleer Director Maine Emergency Management Agency
Last update: 07/20/10
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