Ask an Expert: David McEntire

Davide McEntire (Photo by Gary Payne)How can you prepare for an emergency?

Emergency situations and adverse weather can happen anytime and anywhere, so homeowners and drivers should be prepared for the worst, says David McEntire, professor of public administration.

“It often takes the involvement of local governments, nonprofits, and state and federal agencies to deal with the many functions of emergency management response,” says McEntire, who teaches students in UNT’s emergency administration and planning program how to prepare communities for disasters. “But individuals play a big role.”

To develop your individual or family plan, talk to a local emergency manager or Red Cross representative about emergency preparedness, or visit www.knowhat2do.com or www.ready.gov. McEntire recommends taking the following measures:

Recognize dangers

  • Do not be apathetic. Disasters can occur.
  • Recognize the hazards. You could be affected by ice storms, wild fires, tornadoes, flooding, hazardous materials spills, disease outbreaks, terrorist attacks or mass shootings, among other disasters.

Develop a plan

  • Determine ahead of time what you will do if a disaster occurs. Decide where you will take shelter, evacuate and how you will contact friends, co-workers and family.
  • Be prepared to be self-sufficient for three days or even longer. In major disasters, emergency response programs may be disabled or overwhelmed for weeks.
  • Ensure you have sufficient resources such as a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, weather radio, first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, matches and candles, extra clothing or blankets, prescriptions, diapers and baby formula, and food and water. Prepare emergency kits for your home and your vehicle.

Be aware

  • Pay attention to the news and check the weather forecast frequently.
  • Listen for sirens and warning notifications.
  • Watch for environmental clues. Loud noises, smoke, dark clouds and strong winds may indicate the need for a decisive action.
  • Check on neighbors, friends, the elderly and those with disabilities.

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