Program highlights steps toward being prepared for an emergency

Published 9:43 am Monday, January 27, 2014

Trooper Rob Herbstreith encourages citizens to 'Do 1 Thing' a month to prepare for disaster. (Leader file photo)

Trooper Rob Herbstreith encourages citizens to ‘Do 1 Thing’ a month to prepare for disaster. (Leader file photo)

Would you know what to do if a tornado touched down in your hometown? Or if a snowstorm caused a widespread power outage that lasted for several days?

Trooper Rob Herbstreith, of the Michigan State Police, said many people do not know the answer to these and similar questions.

That is why he and the Michigan State Police are helping the web-based Do 1 Thing program spread its message of disaster preparedness.

“We are at a place right now where we need to think about preparedness so we can take care of ourselves and our families in case of an emergency,” Herbstreith said. “We like to say, ‘the first 72 (hours) is up to you,’ meaning it may be up to 72 hours before an emergency responder can get to you. By following these tips you are off to a good start.”

Do 1 Thing is a non-profit organization created to help build stronger communities by inspiring individuals, families and businesses to prepare for emergencies through an easy and affordable 12-month program.

Herbstreith said the belief is that when individuals are prepared for an emergency, the entire community in which they live is better prepared. Being ready for a disaster also frees up emergency responders to help more people.

“By the individual becoming prepared, that will lead to their household becoming prepared, which could lead to the neighborhood becoming prepared as well,” Herbstreith said.

Do 1 Thing asks people to — as its name says — do one thing a month to help become more prepared.

The website,, lists a different thing to do each month. For instance, in January, people are asked to make a disaster plan. In February, people are asked to purchase and store enough water to last three days, just in case a power outage cuts off the water supply.

The website also includes fact sheets containing information on how to accomplish each of the monthly goals.

Herbstreith said by doing one thing a month, an individual, family or business would be ready to handle a disaster by the end of one year.

“As individuals we are the only ones that can make sure we are safe and our families are safe in an emergency,” he said.

Do 1 Thing originated with Lansing Emergency Management, but it has become a regional collaboration, including emergency management, public health, human service and non-profit agencies.

Herbstreith will be offering more information about Do 1 Thing in his weekly columns. He will also be hosting awareness events in the area beginning in the spring.