Today, September 1st marks the start of the twelfth annual National Preparedness Month.
Get educated, get empowered and get involved. Register to participate in local preparedness events at Ready.gov.
We want to help you stay informed and safe, so over the course of the month, we’ll be sharing articles and information about severe weather events and emergency situations. We’ll also cover how you can prepare for, survive during and recover after, different disasters and emergency scenarios.
To kick things off, let’s go over the basic preparation every household should have.
Make a Plan
You and your family should have a comprehensive plan covering what to do in response to different potential disasters – how you’ll communicate. Putting together a plan and making sure your family understands it is an important step in preparation – especially since you may not all be together when a disaster strikes.
Ready.gov offers two different forms – one for parents and one for children – you can fill out and print or email so every member has the same plan in hand.
You can download the FEMA Family Communication Plan forms from their website.
In addition to having a home emergency plan, you should also review emergency response plans at places where you and your family spend time – your work, your children’s school and other activities.
If a plan isn’t already in place, volunteer to help create one – talk to your co-workers, friends and neighbors and get them involved. The more people who are prepared for an emergency, the safer everyone will be and the faster the recovery from disaster.
Understand the types of disasters most likely to impact you. Depending on the type of hazard, how you respond and what you do may differ. Will you have to evacuate? If so, what route will be your primary – and what will you fall back to if the first way is impassable?
Communication is critical to emergency response and action – make sure you know how your local government will notify and update you about disasters.
Consider the needs of the different members of your household and neighborhood and customize your plans to account for their needs – they may dictate a different plan for shelter, travel, and what to include in an emergency kit. The age, dietary needs, medicine, and disabilities will factor into your emergency plans.
Build a Kit
Your kit should include everything you and your family will need to stay safe – and alive — during a disaster and after.
Water And Food
Water is absolutely essential to survival. Store at enough water to supply each member of your family with one gallon for at least three days. You should also store at least three days’ worth of non-perishable food that is ready to eat and does not need to be cooked.
Communication, Illumination & Power
Get a battery-powered or hand-crank radio so you and your family can listen to radio reports and be aware of changing circumstances before, during and after an emergency. Flashlights and lanterns should also be included in your kit. And don’t forget to get extra batteries – and periodically check them to make sure they still hold a charge.
Medical & Sanitation
In addition to a standard first aid kit, if any member of your family has prescription medication, you will want to store a three-day supply for them. Store a supply of moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties.
Tools & Utensils
Make sure to store a set of eating utensils and a can opener with your kit. It’s also recommended to include a small set of tools, including a sharp knife, pliers and wrench.
There are other items you should consider for your emergency supply kit, depending on your particular situation. (For example, pet food and extra water, diapers, formula, etc.)
For the rest of the month leading up to PrepareAthon, the national day of action, there are activities across the country promoting emergency preparedness with over 3,000 organizations involved in helping raise awareness and encourage everyone to take action.
There are already over 23 million registered participants in preparedness activities according to FEMA. Fellow Americans that have raised their hands to be counted on to be smart, take part and prepare.
Are you one of them?
Register today for America’s PrepareAthon.