Most of you readers, like me, are very familiar in dealing with emergencies both large and small every day. So I come to you and challenge you to take the opportunity of National Preparedness Month to be better prepared at home and at the workplace.
I recently had a friend tell me they heard something about “National Preparedness Month,” that left them with many questions: What is National Preparedness Month? Does it mean people like me are supposed to be doing something to get prepared?
I set out to answer these questions as best I could, telling everyone that National Preparedness Month is about getting our communities better prepared and encouraging each citizen to learn about preparedness and take personal responsibility to act. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preparedness is the ability communities have to prepare for, withstand and recover, in both short and long terms, from incidents. Following the 9/11 tragedies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated the month of September as National Preparedness Month to remind and encourage each of us to prepare for emergencies.
So I ask each reader, are you better prepared than you were on Sept. 11, 2001? Are your family, friends and community prepared? From natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and the Colorado Springs flooding to the unexpected disasters such as bomb threats, active shooters and terrorist attacks; we have seen enough tragedies in the past few years to know that misfortune can hit anywhere at any time.
How Can I Prepare?
The Be Red Cross Ready website created by the American Red Cross is a great resource, which outlines three ways we should prepare: Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed. I personally ask myself the five questions below:
- What disasters are most likely to strike my hometown?
- Does my family have an emergency plan?
- Do I have a "Go Kit?"
- Does someone in my household have first aid training?
- Have I helped my community get better prepared?
Join the Movement
What can you do to join the National Preparedness Month movement? Last year, 1,800 National Preparedness Month coalition members worked to create a culture of emergency preparedness in the United States by hosting at least 1,000 events and initiatives during and around September. You can join the coalition or learn about activities by visiting FEMA’s National Preparedness Community page. Organizations in your community are already getting ready and all you need to do is to get involved.
If you already are an active participant of National Preparedness Month, please share your experience with our community. Tell us about your National Preparedness Month activities from previous years and the ones you are busy planning this year. There is really only one appropriate way to celebrate National Preparedness Month—by doing all we can to be just a little better prepared!