Emergency Preparedness at Georgetown Commons
A series of articles to guide Georgetown Commons Residents in the event of an emergency
Preparation in advance of an emergency is everyone’s job. Each person/family needs to have a plan that may be implemented prior, during, and after an event. Having a plan in place can greatly reduce fear and anxiety. In Rochester, severe weather may leave us without basic services such as electricity, gas, water, and telephone for extended periods of time. Proactive planning is essential.
At our last Georgetown Board meeting, the Emergency Preparedness Committee prioritized an order of topics that address how to prepare, respond, and recover from potential emergencies within our Georgetown community.
DIRECTIONS: CLICK ON ANY TOPIC TO GET MORE INFORMATION
NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS MONTH - WHY PLAN?
Given the most recent natural disasters, worldwide, and upcoming winter months, here at home, it seems appropriate and timely to get serious about potential emergencies and to be as prepared as possible.
The GCHOA Emergency Preparedness Committee is committed to offering Georgetown residents step-by-step guidelines that provide a comprehensive discussion about being prepared for emergencies. Knowledge is priceless; self-sufficiency a must.
Why Prepare? Emergencies disrupt lives and may have lasting effects on individuals, pets, property and our community. To be ready and know how to respond to severe weather, fire, power outages, etc. in advance may reduce the associated impact and dangers that are inherent in these and other emergencies.
Starting with the October, 2017, The Georgetown Crier and throughout the next several months, the GCHOA Emergency Preparedness Committee will be discussing how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural emergencies. Each month’s article will contain important information about a specific topic of concern. Our goal is to call your attention to what you can do to help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in a time of crisis.
We hope that, when used in conjunction with instructions from local emergency offices, FEMA, and The American Red Cross, you will be much better prepared to meet emergencies when they occur. We welcome your input about topics for discussion. Please contact Cecile Horkheimer (Cecile215@rochester.rr.com) or Connie Tripp (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your suggestions.
MAJOR POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEVELOPING A PLAN SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR FAMILY
- Public Assistance locations, phone numbers – Police, Ambulance and Fire contact is 911. New York Regional Poison Control Centers, call 1-800-222-1222. Suggested places to keep this information would be on your refrigerator; in your wallet, on your communication devices, and in your car. Adding your medical information to this list is highly recommended.
- Kits and Supplies – A key element to being prepared is to have emergency supplies on hand such as first-aid kit, prescription and non/prescription drugs, non-perishable food and water. Each kit should contain enough supplies for 1 week for each member of your household. Periodically check for “use by” date and replace if date has expired.
Store your emergency supplies where you have immediate access and can easily get to them. Make sure all family members know where the supplies are. Store supplies in airtight plastic bags in easy-to-carry totes. If you have to leave your home in a hurry, you will be prepared to do so.
- Checklists – Information about your household, childcare, meeting places, pet care, special needs family members, out-of-town contacts, neighbor contacts, kits/supplies, i.e., food and water supplies, first aid supplies, important documents, medical conditions, and other items are necessary to maintaining your self-reliance. If you are interested in viewing checklist suggestions, please refer to the Georgetown website.
Weather Watches and Warnings-Staying Safe during Severe Weather Power outages are most commonly associated with summertime electrical storms, high winds, and/or severe winter snow or ice storms in the Rochester area. Additionally, power outages may also be due to traffic accidents, fires, building or construction activities or regularly scheduled services. Weather conditions can be monitored on radio and/or television with a multi-band emergency radio that includes a hand crank, USB port, battery operation and NOAA weather alerts.
A Guide for Georgetown Commons Residents
This month’s topic: Identify Theft
What to do if you think your ID has been stolen or compromised…
- Do not communicate with scammers. If you do, it would be counterproductive to your goals.
- Contact our bank, tell them what happened and ask them to monitor your accounts for unusual activity. Ask if you should close your accounts and open new ones.
- Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit agencies to place a fraud alert on your credit file. This will alert creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285/Eperian: 1-888-397-3742/Transunion: 1-800-680-7289.
- File a police report. Ask for a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of ID theft.
- Call the Social Security Administration and explain your situation.
- File your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 1-877-438-4338
- File a loss complaint form online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Complete the FTC identity theft affidavit, which will help you in reporting to many companies. Use the affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
- Contact your state attorney’s office to alert it to the scam or fraudulent activity.
For more information, go to ConsumerFraudReport.org and request:
- Free identity theft resources, fact sheets and guides.
- Who to report to: links to government reporting websites, and repair tools.
State Attorney General’s list – report the criminals to your state attorney general.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM BEING VICTIMIZED BY CYBERSPACE CRIMINALS
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS… A Guide for Georgetown Commons Residents
November – This month’s topic: Protect yourself from being victimized by Cyberspace Criminals
In the September 2018 issue of the AARP Bulletin, a “special report” discusses how our private data on the internet is stolen and sold by cyberspace criminals. The article details where these individuals could purchase and sell your social security ID, credit card information, and personal passwords for your on-line transactions and emails and what you can do to protect your information.
The Georgetown HOA Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) recommends that you read the entire article in the Bulletin so that you may be aware of the full scope of the threat to your accounts and personal information. Due to a limited amount of space in the Georgetown Crier, the Committee is providing a brief overview of several ways to protect yourself from becoming victimized by cyberspace criminal activities.
- Order a Credit Freeze-
By placing a security credit freeze with the three credit reporting bureaus, you protect your online credit file. This will prevent another individual from using your identity or to open other accounts with your information. Thanks to legislation passed in Congress, May, 2018, ordering a Credit Freeze is free. For further information, access www.aarp.org/CreditFreeze.
- Set up Digital Access to all of your financial accounts –
By taking this action, you will be able to monitor your bank accounts, credit cards, 401(k)s, etc. Monthly monitoring can alert you to any transactions that you have not initiated.
- Periodically, change your passwords –
Do not use the same password for all your accounts. If you do this, keep a separate list of your passwords in hard copy and/or flash drive.
AARP FRAUD WATCH NETWORK
A free resource… “Watchdog Alert” emails information about scams.
Call a free help-line at 877-908-3360 to speak with a trained fraud counselor.
www.ConsumerFraudReporting.org — Reports the latest frauds, scams, fake lotteries, spasm and hoaxes.
SCAMS And FRAUDS
This month’s topic: SCAMS AND FRAUDS For the past year, the Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) has provided Georgetown residents with information about being prepared for emergencies that may affect our community. If you have read the monthly articles printed in this newsletter, then you know the basic essentials covered and have a plan that will keep you informed and safe. Thank you for your positive feedback. In addition, several residents have suggested that the EPC look into another topic that has become an increasingly difficult one to avoid – SCAMS. Beginning next month, we will be discussing scams and frauds published by Consumer Fraud Reporting.org., “Current 2018 Top 10 List of Scams and Frauds.” The following list is just the beginning.
- Debt Collection
- Fake Government Officials
- Identity Theft
- Phone Scams
- Loans Scams/Credit Fixers
- Fake Prizes, Sweepstakes, Free Gifts, Lotteries
- Internet Merchandise Scams (Shopping/Buying on Line)
- Automobile-Related Complaints (Warranty/Extended Warranty)
- Credit Bureaus and Related Credit Scams
- Phishing/Spoofing Emails
- Dating On Line
The EPC plans on going beyond the top 11 and plans to expand the list for discussion, depending upon feedback from residents. If you have had a scamming experience, please let us know and we will try to include a local scamming alert. Contact one of the following members of the EPC Committee with your comments: Cecile Horkheimer (Cecile215@rochester.rr.com) or Connie Tripp (email@example.com) or Dan Schubmehl (Dschubs58@gmail.com)
POWER OUTAGE CHECKLIST
HEAT WAVE SAFETY CHECKLIST
SMOKE ALARM SAFETY
Smoke alarms (detectors) are essential to protecting the people in your home from home fires. No matter the cause of the fire or its location, properly functioning smoke alarms are there to help alert everyone to the presence of fire in time to evacuate safely.
These life-saving devices are affordable, easily purchased and only require a few minutes of maintenance every 2-3 months. Choosing a Smoke Detector Look for smoke alarms listed with Underwriters Laboratories (UL). If a member of your household has difficulty hearing, it may be a good idea to consider purchasing a smoke detector that produces flashing lights or vibrations in addition to a loud noise to signal an emergency.
Where Should a Smoke Detector be Installed? According to The Hartford (www.thehartford.com), approximately half of home fires occur between 11PM and 7AM, when most people are asleep. It follows that your bedroom is the first place to have a smoke alarm. Place smoke alarms outside each sleeping area in your home; inside any bedroom where the door is typically shut; and on every story of the house, including the basement. Follow installation instructions for the best protection.
How to Maintain Smoke Detector 1. Test units every 2-3 months. 2. Install new batteries immediately when the “low-battery” warning alarm sounds or at least once during the year. 3. Clean smoke alarms regularly by vacuuming them with a brush attachment. 4. Replace smoke alarms every 8-10 years to be assured of optimum performance.
Take a few minutes today to ensure your home has the appropriate number of smoke alarms and that they are properly located and regularly tested and maintained.
SPECIAL NEEDS CHECKLIST
If you have special needs, create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends to aid you in an emergency.
- Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate your equipment (if necessary).
- Keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, medication, food for service animals and any other items you might need.
- Keep an up-to-date list of current medications/Pharmacy.
- Medical Alert System Information
- File for Life (on refrigerator door)
- Yellow Dot Program (affix yellow dot on front door)
Prepare a kit that has everything you might need to care for your child. Include medications, special devices, toys, formula, snacks, etc.
Prepare a kit that has everything you might need to care for your pet. Medications, leash, food, documents, plastic baggies, etc.
Emergency Supplies Checklist
First Aid Supplies
__ First Aid Kit and Manual
__ Hand wipes or hand sanitizers
__ Antiseptic wipes
__ Non-latex gloves
__ Cold Pack
__ Safety Pins
__ Cotton Balls
__ Hydrogen Peroxide
__ Aspirin & other pain relievers
__ Anti-diarrhea medication
__ Rx meds (2 week supply) & copies of Rx
__ Extra eyeglasses, contacts, cleaning solution
__ Hearing aids & extra batteries
__ Dentures & cleaning solution
__ Medical support items, i.e., wheelchair, cane, walkers, oxygen & tubes, dressings, etc.
__ Towelettes, body wipes, soap, deodorant, hand sanitizer
__ Washcloth, towel
__ Toothpaste, Toothbrush, miscellaneous dental supplies
__ Shampoo, Conditioner, Comb, Brush
__ Shaving supplies
__Insect repellent, Lip balm
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INSURANCE
What You Should Know About Insurance What you should know about your Homeowner’s and GCHOA policies. To ensure easy access to your insurance policies, it is a good idea to keep one copy in a waterproof container and another copy in a different location, i.e. safe deposit box. It is also suggested that you keep current, date-stamped photos of the interior and exterior of your home and any data regarding assessed value and other property information, i.e., property taxes, etc. that will help you to expedite the settlement of your claim. What does your GCHOA insurance policy cover? First: Ask your Board of Directors to provide information describing which expenses are covered in the event of a claim. Second: Contact your private insurance company to determine what additional coverage you need with a homeowner’s insurance policy. By doing this, you will be covered should the need arise. What does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Homeowner’s insurance typically helps cover the following:
- Your dwellinG
- Other structures on your property
- Personal Property
You may also be able to purchase additional insurance for greater protection. Terminology RCV – Replacement Cost value. Do you have enough insurance to cover possible losses? ACV – Actual Cash Value. This amount is based on depreciation of items. Here is where your photos and original cost of items is an asset.
FIRE PREVENTION and SAFETY CHECKLIST
STAYING SAFE DURING SEVERE WEATHER
DOCUMENT STORAGE WITH DOWNLOADABLE PDF FILE
Last month, members of the Emergency Preparedness Committee attended a seminar at Sage Rutty in Rochester. The topic was “documents,” which fits in with this month’s Crier article. Below is the pdf handout we received at the seminar. Please download and add it to your EMP information. It is important to store this and other articles in a 3-ring binder as well as a USB flash drive (for your Emergency Preparedness Kit). Document Storage Guide for Emergency Preparedness