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I would like to start off by introducing myself to you. My name is Jay Gonzalez; I reside in South Windsor with my wife and daughter. I am a career firefighter, a regional emergency manager duty officer, and a student focusing on emergency and disaster management. The main purpose of this blog is to provide the residents of South Windsor with information pertaining to community awareness and preparedness for disasters.

In the coming weeks, I will be developing a template for a family disaster plan that you’ll be able to download. In addition, I will list some of the necessary equipment, tools, food, water, and other essentials you should put in an emergency kit for you, and your family. I will also be posting safety tips, and other information that may be helpful to you, your family, and your business for use before, during and after a disaster.

One of the best ways for a family to cope with a disaster is preparing in advance. As a community, we need to share the responsibility of being prepared, rather than assuming that others are going to take care of us – of everything. Everyone needs to be a part of the solution.  A few basic preparations can go a long way to ensuring your own well-being and that of your loved ones. If accepting the notion of a shared responsibility in preparedness isn’t enough to motivate you, just think back to any of our many recent disasters in Connecticut.

FEMA advises that each individual and family should understand that after a disaster, help might not come for at least 72 hours (3 days). Still, others have suggested 120 hours (5 days). Basic services such as water, gas, electricity, and telephones may even be cut off. Local officials, fire departments, law-enforcement, EMS, and other relief workers will be doing their level best to respond after a disaster. However, the reality is that they may not be able to reach everyone right away. One only needs to look back a couple of weeks ago to realize this. Knowing what to do before, during, and after a disaster is not only the best protection you can have, but it’s also your responsibility!

One way to be aware is to visit the Capital Region Council of Government’s web site at Be Aware, Plan, Prepare. This website offers an abundance of resources, and information on emergency preparedness, as well as the different hazards that face us living here, in Connecticut. If you haven’t visited this website, I would highly suggest that you check it out. The information posted there is really is worthwhile!

In the coming weeks, I look forward to hearing from you; what are your thoughts and questions? I will make every effort to respond to you, with the hope of making the citizens of South Windsor more informed and better prepared. Please feel free to post your questions or suggestions for any topics you would like discussed.