September is National Preparedness Month

Take action now to create and practice a disaster plan for your family.

As summer draws to a close and students return to school, many of us start thinking about putting up storm windows, raking leaves, and getting snow equipment ready for the months ahead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Michigan State University Extension urges everyone to add emergency preparedness planning to their September “to do” list.  During this month-long campaign, CDC joins with national, regional, and local governments as well as public and private organizations – more than 3,000 entities in all – to support emergency preparedness efforts. They are urging everyone to personally engage in preparedness activities in their own community at some time during the month. Each week, their informational messages and resources will focus on a different segment of the community- family, neighborhood, workplace and school.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is another organization devoted to emergency preparedness. Their campaign has designated a different hazard to focus on each week in September as part of their educational outreach. Flood is the theme of the first week, followed by wildfire, hurricane, and power outage. Though there are some differences in the preparedness efforts coordinated by each of these organizations, all of them culminate their activities on September 30th with a national day of action, National PrepareAthon! Day, that seeks to increase community preparedness and resiliency. The goal of this grassroots campaign is to increase the number of individuals who:

  • Understand which disasters could happen in their community
  • Know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage
  • Take action to increase their preparedness
  • Participate in community resiliency planning

For those who want to be involved but are not sure how to begin, a variety of suggestions are offered. Their program challenges all to take action by learning about and preparing for hazards likely to occur in your area, to be counted by registering your preparedness activities on their website, and to spread the word by downloading free resources they offer to help plan and promote your preparedness activities. Available materials are hazard specific and include earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire, and winter storm. As of August 26th, their site reported 23,224,795 individuals were involved in registered preparedness activities. Click here to get the current tally.

Emergency preparedness need not end on September 30th. Other resources are available year round to help you become better prepared for and able to respond successfully to a variety of disaster situations. To learn more, I recommend visiting the following websites:

 Michigan State University Extension , eXtension , and EDEN (Extension Disaster Education Network).

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