As National Preparedness Month gets underway Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden and others want to make sure you're doing what you should be to ensure safety in the event of a disaster, storm or other event.

National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in an effort to educate the public on how to prepare for emergencies.

This year’s National Preparedness theme is: Disasters Happen, Prepare Now, Learn How.

“The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with numerous agencies, prepares for emergencies such as natural disasters, active shooters, mass casualties and chemical threats throughout the year by conducting drills, training, tabletops exercises and educational programs,” Sheriff Golden, whose agency runs the Office of Emergency Management in Monmouth County, said. “These types of training exercises are critical in ensuring that we can effectively and efficiently respond to crises situations. It’s vital the public plays a role as well by preparing, planning and staying informed.”

This year’s National Preparedness Month will offer different topics each week to help you prepare including: Make and Practice Your Plan, Learn Lifesaving Skills, Check Your Insurance Coverage and Save For an Emergency.

National Day of Action is September 15 and it's a day to provide you, organizations, and the community an opportunity to prepare for specific hazards through drills, discussions and exercises.

The Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management is asking you to utilize this day to learn which evacuation zone you are within and to verify that you have the proper insurance to cover your home or business from damages as a result of a storm or other emergency.

The Know Your Zone initiative was implemented by OEM in 2016 to educate residents, visitors and businesses about coastal evacuation zones.

'Know Your Zone' is the first of its kind preparedness type program in New Jersey and it's directly connected to Monmouth County’s Coastal Evacuation Plan.

The program allows the MC-OEM to direct any evacuation instructions to those that are at the greatest risk of experiencing storm surge during major coastal storms in protection of lives and property.

The system creates four distinct zones A, B, C, & D and will allow for clearer and more decisive messaging when evacuations are needed.

As the public becomes aware of which zone they are in, evacuation messaging will be directed toward a specific zone when it's warranted.

“Sharing information and communicating are vital pieces when dealing and working in emergency management,” Mike Oppegaard, Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator, said. “National Preparedness Month makes it easier and more accessible for people and communities to get involved and review how to prepare and react should they be faced with a disaster or emergency.”

The sheriff’s office is also presenting their STORM Program to the public which assists the in disaster preparedness.

Seniors Taking on Readiness Measures was created following Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

It gives those who are among the most vulnerable populations, emergency preparedness information, assists them in providing a family disaster plan and provides them with an emergency kit.

Sheriff Golden is asking residents to like or follow the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and to download the agency’s application for smartphones.

The app provides instant access to sheriff’s office related information, which includes real-time emergency notifications through its integrated push notification system that automatically displays the message on the phone.

Users are able to be instantly alerted to weather, or other emergency related situations, from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the agency’s Office of Emergency Management.

The OEM section of the app has been expanded to include important information regarding the warning signs of hurricanes, tornadoes and flash floods as well as other weather related events.

To download the free Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office app, visit the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

“It can be challenging during emergency situations to provide consistent, official messages to a large group of residents," Golden said. "In addition to social media and our website, which are updated regularly, this app is another tool to keep the public informed that we encourage all residents to utilize."

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