September is National Preparedness Month, which is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a way to educate the American public about how to prepare for a variety of disasters that could disrupt their day-to-day lives.
Disasters can take many forms, including heavy snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, water main breaks, terrorist attacks, chemical contamination, pandemics, or other scenarios. In the event of a disaster, emergency responders may not be able to reach people quickly. It is therefore essential for families, businesses, schools, hospitals, and other people and organizations to have plans and supplies in place to deal with events and situations that may arise.
You should have enough food, water, and medication on hand to last you and other members of your household at least three days in case you do not have water service or access to a supermarket or pharmacy. Have flashlights and batteries in case you lose electricity. Buy a NOAA weather radio so you can receive up-to-date weather forecasts and special instructions. Buy or assemble a first aid kit.
Register to receive emergency notifications from state and local officials on your cell phone. Discuss how you and family members will contact each other if you are separated when disaster strikes. Choose a location where you can assemble. Plan how you will evacuate if necessary. Consider the special needs of children, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities. Also consider how you will care for pets.
Find out what emergency preparedness plans are in place in your community. Ask state and local officials about what types of emergencies they are prepared for and what types of supplies and resources they have available. Ask about what types of services, such as shelters, will be available in the event of a disaster. Ask how officials will communicate with the public to share information and instructions. Discuss emergency preparedness with your employer and your children’s school or daycare.
Everyone should be prepared for an emergency. You never know when disaster may strike or what form it may take. Learn more about what plans are in place and come up with a plan for your own family. Being prepared can put your mind at ease and help you get through the challenges that you could face if an emergency arises.