From a global pandemic to an attempted insurrection, unexpected condos collapses to historic wildfires, the past year and a half have been full of unpredictable disasters, putting in perspective just how unexpected disasters are and how far-reaching their effects can be. This September, as we observe National Preparedness Month, we are reminded of the importance of disaster preparedness.
“Prepare to Protect — Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love,” is the theme of this year. Ready, a national public service campaign “designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters,” has identified the Hispanic community as a key audience of the national preparedness month campaign for the first time in history.
Each week of the month will follow a different theme. This year’s weekly themes include:
Week 1: Make a Plan
If disaster strikes, what will you do? Talk to your family, friends, and community members about an emergency plan. How will you stay informed? How will you communicate with your family? Where will you go if you need to evacuate, and how will you get there? Does your family have any specific living needs, like health or cultural challenges? Keep questions like these in mind when putting together a plan. Ready has a family emergency plan that you can fill out or use as a guide.
Week 2: Build a Kit
While most elements of an emergency plan are intangible, among the most important things an individual can do to prepare for disaster is to create an emergency kit. Collect basic items including, but not limited to: water, first aid supplies, non-perishable food, battery powered radio, flashlight, maps, extra batteries, medications, hygiene items. Try to store your items in something easy to carry, like a duffel bag. And always have your supplies at the ready.
Week 3: Low-Cost, No-Cost Preparedness
Knowing the disaster risks in your area is a free and easy way to limit the impact of a disaster. FEMA’s Protective Actions Research site contains helpful information on a variety of different hazards ranging from avalanches to tsunamis and everything in between. Take steps to make your property stronger in the face of local threats and be sure to have the appropriate insurance coverage.
Week 4: Teach Youth About Preparedness
Everyone has a role to play in disaster preparation, including children. Talk to the children in your household about potential disasters and what to do if they strike.
For more information, visit the Ready website. Taking a few moments to make a plan and assemble the resources needed to execute can sometimes mean the difference between chaos or a swift, effective response. Take steps now to protect yourself and your family, before it is too late.