Graphics of a house, first aid kit, and smartphone with an emergency alert with text "Emergency Preparedness Month"

Disasters do not plan ahead, but we can. September is National Preparedness Month and encourages people to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. The effort is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The 2020 National Preparedness Month’s theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”

No matter where we live, we are subject to disasters. Natural disaster and man-made disasters affect everyone and will cause severe damage and endanger lives. From hurricanes to wildfires to blizzards, natural disasters can turn deadly and damage property. Man-made disasters can include crime, power outages, famines or even war and can be just as terrifying as any natural disaster. Preparation is essential for the safety of our families and valuable personal possessions.

How do we plan for disasters?

• Make a plan – talk with family and friends about how to communicate before, during, and after a disaster.

• Build a kit – gather supplies that will last several days after the disaster for everyone living in the home as well as pets.

• Prepare for disasters – know the risk of disasters and check insurance coverage. Learn how to make the home stronger in the face of storms.

• Instruct the youth about preparedness – talk to the kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do. Show them how they can become involved.

Here are a few tools to help to prepare:

• Download the FEMA app

• Sign up for text messages: Text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) to receive preparedness tips

• Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for COVID-19 public service announcements and how to prepare during the coronavirus
• Visit Ready.gov for more helpful facts and tools to help prepare for disasters

It’s impossible to control the weather and stop catastrophes from happening.  However, being educated on the vital steps for emergency preparedness can help minimize risks should an emergency take place.  Build a kit, become informed on the different disasters that may happen, and plan ahead. Planning makes it easier to act rationally when the time comes.

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