September is National Preparedness Month, and with it comes the reminder to plan ahead for the chance of hazards and disasters in our everyday lives. Although these occurrences are unlikely for many of us, it is important to prepare for emergencies that can affect our families, homes, and communities.
Many first responders, including EMTs/paramedics, fire fighters, and law enforcement officers, are trained in emergency preparedness; however, many citizens are unaware of simple steps that can be taken in advance to save lives in the case of an emergency. National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to brush up on these life-saving guidelines:
The key to emergency preparedness is planning ahead. Having a plan in place for your family, place of business, and community will save time and potentially your life in the event of an emergency. Research what kinds of disasters and hazards may strike in your community so you know how to prepare for them. Your local health department, fire department, and Medical Reserve Corps are great places to start your research. Many communities already have emergency plans in place and will undoubtedly have great resources to help your family and workplace get started on their individual emergency plans.
- “Family Emergency Plan” printable PDF from FEMA.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit should be prepared well in advance of a disaster. It should contain basic supplies, including food, water, and first aid materials that can sustain you and your family for up to 72 hours. Store your emergency kit in a cool, dry place; label all items with expiration dates; and replenish supplies as needed.
- “Emergency Supply List” list from FEMA.
Connect with Your Community
Local community organizations are great places to start gathering information on emergency preparedness plans. Visit your town hall or health department website, Council on Aging (plans for the elderly), school (plans for students), and library for resources on how best to prepare for hazards in your area. Many of these organizations meet regularly to discuss community plans and train volunteers to respond to disasters in your area. Read your local newspaper or newsletter, review bulletin boards at local hangouts, and be sure to check your mailbox for up-to-date plans from the health department and fire department. Be proactive now so you can be confident when an emergency strikes.
- Sign up to receive FEMA emergency text alerts.
National preparedness may seem like a daunting initiative, but if you start smart and local you will be prepared to protect yourself, your family, and your home in the event of an emergency. To learn more and to get involved in this life-saving initiative, visit the FEMA website today.