National Preparedness Month 2019: Prepared, Not Scared


September is National Preparedness Month! Since FEMA launched this initiative in 2004, September is recognized to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. The National Preparedness month theme for 2019 is “Prepared, Not Scared.” Are you prepared for a hurricane, an active shooter situation, or any other emergency that can occur? Use the tips below to be ready in case disaster strikes.
Save Early
Saving money is an important part of your emergency preparedness plan. According to the financial reserve, 40% of Americans don’t have $400 in savings. What would you do if tragedy struck? If you are able to, save money ahead of time so you don’t have to rely on credit or loans to get you out of a bind. Be sure to check your insurance coverage so you know what is covered. Will your home be protected in the event of a flood? A fire? Most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance does not cover floods.  Along with saving money electronically, keep a moderate amount of small bills on hand. If ATMs and credit cards don’t work, you want to be able to have some cash on hand for gas or food and water.

Make a Plan to Prepare for Disasters
Put together a plan for yourself and those in your household by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelter plan?
  3. What is my evacuation route?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

All of these questions fit into the National Preparedness Month 2019 theme of “Prepared. Not Scared.” If your household has a set plan, there is less likely to be panic in times of danger. Tailor your plan to your household’s specific needs keeping in mind everyone’s ages and if there are any dietary, medication or medical equipment needs. Don’t forget about your pets and their needs as well!

Teach Youth to Prepare for Disasters
Numerous studies have shown the importance of early engagement of young people in planning and emergency preparedness efforts for disasters. Children make up roughly a quarter of the U.S. population and today’s prepared children will become tomorrow’s prepared adults! FEMA, the U.S. Department of Education, and the American Red Cross developed the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education and came up with 9 steps to prepare our youth.

  1. Elevate the importance of youth preparedness learning programs at the national, state and local levels
  2. Make school emergency preparedness a key component
  3. Evaluate the quality and effectiveness of existing youth preparedness programs
  4. Support the implementation of youth preparedness programs
  5. Create positive relationships between youth and your first responder community
  6. Link youth preparedness to family and community participation
  7. Build productive partnerships among stakeholder agencies and organizations
  8. Identify opportunities to embed youth preparedness in youth culture
  9. Design a sustaining, locally driven model for developing, designing and delivering programming

Get Involved in Your Community’s Emergency Preparedness Efforts
No matter what state you live in, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) train volunteers for the types of disasters that their community may face. If you live in a place where there are wildfires or hurricanes, you will be trained to better prepare for those incidents. You can find your local CERTs here and be ready to help when your community is in need. You can also find voluntary organizations to join in your community by going to this website.  Be prepared by taking classes for potentially lifesaving skills like CPR and AED training. You can find a local class from the American Red Cross here. These tips are an important part of National Preparedness Month 2019 and are aimed to help you be prepared, not scared, if tragedy strikes.