(WKBN) – Every September, emergency leaders highlight National Preparedness Month. It’s to raise awareness about the value in preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time.

“Back to basics, common sense. Know how to get out of your house, have your family know how to get out of your house in an event of an emergency,” said Robin Lees, director of the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).

Local emergency experts say Ohioans are encouraged to review safety plans and know how to contact each other during emergencies, including plans for pets.

“The last thing we want to do is hear that there is a pet trapped in the house or somebody has put themselves at risk to go rescue a pet,” Lees said.

Every household should have smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit available according to the EMA. Having a set plan may give first responders extra support.

“Hopefully, you’ve helped to stage or assist in preparation for them to get there and do what they need to,” Lees said.

Local electrical companies encourage customers to be aware of potential hazards that may become dangerous with severe weather, like overgrown or unstable trees.

“If you ever see a down or low hanging wire, always assume it is energized and dangerous and call 911,” said Lauren Siburkis, a spokeswoman for FirstEnergy.

We recently experienced severe weather throughout the Valley and local emergency departments tested their alert system.

“The new IPAWS [Integrated Public Alert & Warning System] system that runs the alerts on the phones, it worked, we think, flawlessly from all indications,” Lees said.

The Mahoning County EMA is offering a QR code in the medical building at the Canfield Fair to sign up for emergency alerts. The EMA says emergency alerts should not be silenced.