August 31, 2016

Hughes Urges Residents To Prepare for Emergencies

National Preparedness Month, and Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is taking this opportunity to advise county residents and businesses to plan and prepare for hazards, natural or manmade, that could affect them.

“As we move into this year’s storm season, it’s a good time to remind people that we all need to be ready for a severe weather event or other type of large-scale emergency,” Mr. Hughes said. “Don’t put yourself or others at risk by waiting until the last minute to prepare.” 

The basics of preparedness for virtually all hazards are the same, Mr. Hughes said: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Stay Informed, and Become Involved. The following are things that residents and businesses should do:

Put together a kit of emergency supplies that includes a three-day supply of canned, non-perishable, ready-to-eat food; a three-day supply of water (a total of 3 gallons per family member); prescription medications; a battery-operated radio and extra batteries; a flashlight and extra batteries; a first aid kit; personal toiletries; and a non-electric can opener and utensils. Remember to include things such as infant care items, and items for elderly family members, relatives with disabilities, and pets.

Make a plan for what you, your family or your business will do during an emergency. Know how you will evacuate and how to “shelter in place,” which means stay home and avoid driving if at all possible. Address any special-needs concerns in the event of an emergency, build an emergency contact phone list and make provisions for pets.

Stay informed of possible threats. It is important to know whether an emergency is imminent or is already taking place. Keep track of current weather forecasts and alerts through local radio and TV stations as well as via the websites of news outlets and the National Weather Service. Also register for the Mercer County Code Red emergency notification system at and sign up for your municipal notification system.

Become involved by volunteering for your Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Mercer County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) or a nonprofit group such as the Red Cross or Salvation Army. CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts. New Jersey boasts the largest CERT contingent in the nation with 12,000 members and growing. Become part of a CERT team by contacting your local emergency management coordinator or by calling the Mercer County Office of Emergency Management at (609) 799-8868. MRC members receive the necessary training to assist the Division of Public Health and other County partners during public health emergencies. For information on how to join the Mercer County MRC, visit or call Stephanie Mendelsohn at (609) 989-6898.

“Preparing for large-scale emergencies is a partnership between government and its citizens,” Mr. Hughes said. “Personal preparedness and the ability to shelter at home for several days is a vital part of this partnership and decreases dependence on limited government resources.”

Although Mercer County is generally a “shelter in place” community, it also is important that residents be prepared to safely evacuate, if instructed by local officials to do so, and that they identify a safe place to stay, the County Executive said.

For more information on how to properly prepare your home or business for an emergency, visit