National Preparedness Month: Make Your Plan Today

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September 12th, 2016

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By Lauren Morowit, CHHS Research Assistant

If an emergency happens in your community tomorrow – will you be ready?

September is National Preparedness Month in the United States, and government agencies are urging all citizens to consider developing an emergency communication plan.  The slogan for this readiness campaign is, “Don’t Wait.  Communicate.”

Emergencies can happen at any time – with or without any warning.  However, individuals can exercise the choice to prepare practical responses before an emergency strikes in an attempt to lessen the perilous effects of a tragedy.

The message being proliferated this month highlights the notion that the public can better prepare themselves and their families by taking appropriate measures which include to: 1) Be Informed, 2) Develop a Plan, 3) Build a Kit, and 4) Get Involved.

Recently, our nation has been facing challenges posed by instances of flash floods, historic earthquakes, hurricanes, water main breaks, and the spread of the Zika virus.  An official website of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Ready.gov, is providing site visitors with ample resources and tools in order to promote an understanding of how to prepare for these kinds of emergency situations.  The website also offers various templates available for download for the purpose of crafting emergency communication plans for individuals and families.

Here are a few easy steps to start your emergency communication plan:

  1. Find out how to receive emergency alerts and warnings from public safety officials.
  2. Discuss family/household plans for disasters that may affect your area.
  3. Collect information for all relevant contacts including medical facilities and schools.
  4. Identify information and pick an emergency meeting place that is safe and familiar.
  5. Share information and ensure everyone involved knows the plan details including roles and responsibilities.
  6. Practice your plan to ensure its feasibility.

Additionally, the Red Cross provides information describing the proper supplies that should be included in basic emergency preparedness kits.  The guidelines for assembling an emergency preparedness kit emphasize the need for storing amounts of food and water that would be sufficient to sustain a 3-day supply for evacuation and a 2-week supply for home.  Moreover, it is important to consider any unique needs for family members which may require specific medical supplies and baby supplies.

The level of coordination involving readiness and relief efforts largely demands that federal agencies cooperate with local organizations and corporations.  Nonetheless, National Preparedness Month is a reminder that citizens from every community can help do their part to keep the nation safe by expecting the unexpected.

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