Emergencies can happen any time. Would you or your family know what to do? September is National Preparedness Month and the Ocean County Health Department is encouraging all residents to take action to ensure the safety of their family. 

Emergency Preparedness Kit (Flickr User KOMUnews)

Leslie Terjesen, Public Information Officer for the OCHD, said this year's theme is "Don't Wait, Communicate. Make your emergency plan today."

The health department will spend each week of the month focusing on floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and power outages.

"People really need to learn what protective measures to take before, during, and after an emergency, and then we want people to make a plan," said Terjesen.

Residents should stay informed about what's going on that can affect them and be able to access news and whether reports when they're may not be power.

Terjesen pointed out that a lesson from Hurricane Sandy is to have several days worth of emergency supplies.

"Make sure that you have non-perishables, make sure that you have a non-electric can opener, make sure that you have a flash light, a battery-operated radio," she said.

Terjesen also recommended checking expiration dates on emergency supplies, including water.

"If you're older, you need to have your medication. If you have hearing aids, or if you have a wheelchair, you might need to have extra batteries," said Terjesen.

She suggested having fun games available or things like coloring books to keep kids occupied during emergency situations.

Information on making an emergency kit, coastal evacuation routes, pet preparedness, radiological events, the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, severe weather, and hurricane and storm resources can be found in the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Planning section on the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org under DEPARTMENTS/Administration.

The OCHD also is using "National Preparedness Month" to seek volunteers for its Medical Reserve Corps, according to Terjesen.

"You do not have to be a medical professional. They actually help us in emergencies. During Sandy, they helped us at the clinics," Terjesen said.

Information and a display about the Medical Reserve Corps will available on September 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the County Connection at the Ocean County Mall, on Hooper Avenue in Toms River.