by Cassidy Clayton September 17, 2018

“Be prepared.” It’s the Boy Scout motto, but it’s also good advice for the rest of us. After all, accidents happen, and they’re called accidents for a reason, right?  In reality, though, Boy Scout or not, many of usaren’t prepared. That’s why Preparedness Month such a big deal.

But first, what is preparedness month?

Created in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), preparedness month is a period of time dedicated to raising awareness about disaster and emergency readiness. During September, public education campaigns aid people in readying themselves for natural disasters and emergencies. Preparedness month is designed for the average person to better equip themselves to handle emergency situations, whether that be during recreation, everyday life, or a natural disaster. Sites likewww.ready.gov offer training, and focus on a different topic each week during the month of September.

Why Is It So Important?

Whether we’re ready for them or not, disasters do happen. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared. Recently, Hurricane Florence killed at least fourteen people as it ravaged the south, caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage, and displaced thousands from their homes. Before that, the wildfires and hurricanes of 2017 did similarly massive amounts of damage, to properties, lives, and livelihoods.

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When an emergency strikes, it’s too late to start learning what you should or shouldn’t do. Driving to the local Walmart or wholesale club to stock up on waterafter a hurricane makes landfall isn’t just a bad idea, it’s sometimes completely impossible. Scurrying to collect scattered important documents and supplies with a raging wildfire approaching also isn’t advisable. With these sorts of natural disasters, there’s usually a bit of time to get yourself and your family ready. But what about household fires, tornados, or other emergencies with far less preparation time? If you’re without an emergency plan--if you’re not prepared--you risk losing much more than if you were prepared.

Emergency situations aren’t planned, but they can be prepared for. According to the2016 National Household Survey, less than half of Americans reported having a household emergency plan. Considering the recent frequency and intensity of natural disasters, that is a disturbingly low percentage. Preparation saves lives, and for that reason alone, it’s worth doing.

What Can I Do? 

1. Seek Information

Make use of sites likewww.ready.gov andwww.redcross.org to gather knowledge about how you can prepare yourself and your family for disasters and emergency. Whether you’re searching forsupply lists, researching how to pack ago-bag, or looking for local survival meetups,

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2. Talk with others

Join the conversation on social media with the hashtags #PrepareNow, #FloodSmart, and #NatlPrep, or talk with your friends and family in person. Exchanging ideas is a great way to see what you’re missing in your own plans, and to help others with their own prep.

3. Attend preparedness meeting or training

Check the internet for preparedness events in your local area, and try to attend! Learning from a trained instructor is incredibly beneficial, and they’ll be able to answer any questions you may have reliably.

4. Develop a household plan

If you don’t already have a household plan developed, now is a good time to sit down and make one. Go over it with the members of your household, and make sure everyone is aware of the plan and its details.

5. Stock Supplies

Chances are, you’re familiar with this step already--according to the2016 National Household Survey, over 75% of people stock supplies. Bottled water and non-perishable food items are good to have on hand, as are things like emergency blankets and medical supplies.

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6. Take part in a drill

Remember those emergency drills from grade school? Turns out they’re not a bad idea. Review your household plans, and take part in emergency service drills in your community. Practice makes perfect, and should an emergency occur, everything will go much more smoothly if you’ve gone over what needs to be done.

If you’re just learning about preparedness now, don’t worry! While September is National Preparedness month, there’s never a bad time to ready yourself and your family for emergency situations. Click on any of the links scattered throughout this blog to learn more and get involved in educating others.

Cassidy Clayton
Cassidy Clayton


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