September is National Preparedness Month, an opportunity to prepare for possible disasters and emergencies.
The 2021 theme is: “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”
In Florida, one big event we prepare for is hurricane season, but there are other weather disasters you may never have considered, such as wildfires, flooding, drought, extreme heat, thunderstorms, lightning, and tornadoes.
Besides weather disasters, there are other emergencies that can occur, often without warning. These include explosions, home fires, power outages, and attacks in public places. And now, added to the list: global pandemics.
Knowing what disasters and hazards can affect you is key to keeping you and your family safe. It’s important to know how to get emergency alerts and where you would go if you needed to evacuate.
The National Preparedness Month campaign focuses on 4 essential aspects of preparation.
- Create a plan
Talk to your family, friends, and neighbors about how you will communicate before, during, and after an emergency. If there is no cell service, and you no longer have a landline in your home, how will you get in touch? Make sure your plan is based on any current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to the Coronavirus.
- Build a kit
An emergency kit includes supplies for everyone in your home for several days. Think about the unique needs of the people and pets in your family. If you must evacuate quickly, make sure you have medications and other essentials.
- Make cost-effective preparations in advance
Natural disasters happen at any time — not when it’s convenient. Don’t put off signing up for emergency alerts and taking other low-cost/no-cost preparation steps. Getting ready in advance can save a lot of hassle, headaches, and valuable time in the long run. In an emergency, you may not have access to internet service or a computer, so it’s a good idea to have paper copies of your insurance, will, and other important documents.
- Teach youth about preparedness
Talk to your children and grandchildren about the importance of being prepared for an emergency. The goal isn’t to scare them but to equip them with knowledge and assurance. Discuss what to do and where to go if you are separated. Reassure them that if they prepare in advance, there won’t be a need for fear later.
Using National Preparedness Month as a reason to review your emergency plan is a great way to protect yourself and your loved ones.