Part of having a winter readiness plan is having the supplies necessary to get through an emergency or power outage for at least 72 hours, and having sufficient supplies in your vehicle. Fort Drum's emergency manager is reinforcing a "Make a Plan" awareness campaign so community members start preparing now for the winter ahead. For more information, see the graphic below (click on the graphic to enlarge it). (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Emergency kits, plans should top to-do lists
at Fort Drum as winter weather approaches
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Nov. 4, 2019) – North Country residents experienced their first bout of winter weather this weekend, serving as a wakeup call for those caught unaware by the slick formation of snow on the roads and on top of their vehicles.
That is why Rich Hughes, Fort Drum’s emergency manager at the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, is reinforcing a “Make a Plan” awareness campaign across the community.
“A disaster can strike any community with little or no advance notice,” Hughes said. “In the Fort Drum area, our greatest concern is severe winter weather. Before winter hits, we want Soldiers and their Family Members, civilian employees and anyone who lives or works on post to be prepared for the dangers of the season.”
Hughes said that community members should receive this message in the coming days through email or social media, and there will be flyers placed throughout the installation and brochures at key locations. Posters are on display at the Exchange – at the entrance and near the automotive supplies where emergency kits and other winter readiness items can be found.
“To increase awareness of the importance of individual and family preparedness, we will be using our mass warning notification systems, and you will be seeing information on social media outlets and displays at the Post Exchange and Commissary that focuses on items recommended for preparedness,” he said.
Hughes said that an important part of readiness is having the supplies necessary to get through an emergency or power outage for at least 72 hours, and having sufficient supplies in your vehicle (see graphic).
“This is for the worst-case scenario we envision where essential services would be affected – such as power, transportation and water,” he said. “But remember to keep plans simple. Consider what you will do if you have to shelter-in-place at home. Make sure you address any specific needs you or your Family have, such as medications. Also, think about if you have to evacuate your home.”
Hughes said that having a family communication plan is recommended so there is no confusion about how to contact loved ones and people who could help during an emergency.
“Make sure everyone – including babysitters – has important phone numbers – and include neighbors, relatives and Family friends,” he said. “Communication systems will be overwhelmed during a disaster; text or app messages use less bandwidth than phone calls and are more likely to be successfully delivered.”
He added that identifying emergency meeting places and taking advantage of mobile apps are also helpful in a crisis.
“There are several apps that allow you to keep tabs on Family Members through smartphone GPS locations,” Hughes said.
Community members are encouraged to enroll in the Alert! System, formerly known as AtHoc. Alert! messages can be sent as pop-up windows on government computers, as well as via email, voicemail or text message. Soldiers and DoD employees can register and add Family Members to the system from their government computer.
“Alert! is the Army’s official method for delivering emergency information to the installation’s population,” Hughes said. “Sponsors can add up to 10 phone numbers and email addresses to receive these messages, so that everyone can be informed simultaneously.”
It is important to note that the phone number calling will not be from the 315 area code and should not be mistaken as spam. Alert! phone calls will originate from (703) 454-0563. Emails will originate from Alert-NoReply@alert.csd.disa.mil and text messages will originate from different source numbers, such as 24639.
People also can check the Fort Drum website (www.home.army.mil/drum), follow www.facebook.com/drum.10thmountain/ and call the Information Hotline at (315) 772-DRUM (3786) for installation weather calls and road conditions.
“Time is important in an emergency,” Hughes said. “The quicker everyone knows what the situation is and what to do, the safer everyone will be.”
To start making a plan now, people can visit https://ready.gov and https://ready.army.mil for checklists, printer-friendly emergency plans and other downloadable resources.
“No matter the type of disaster that has affected areas of our country in recent years, whether it be a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or ice storm, we’ve seen that community preparedness saves more lives, property and resources than all other response and recovery efforts combined,” Hughes said. “The bottom line is that if people make a simple plan, have the necessary supplies and are set up to receive and act on emergency information when a disaster happens, they are much more likely to stay safe.”