National Preparedness Month: Get Ready for the Rest of Hurricane Season
With news coverage saturated with images of those affected by Hurricane Harvey, it’s hard not to consider how we might be forced to handle such a devastating natural disaster. It’s a lot to think about, especially considering that getting ready for an emergency can initially seem like an overwhelming and daunting task.
Bearing this in mind, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created National Preparedness Month in 2003 as a way to offer millions of Americans an opportunity to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, businesses, and more. With plentiful resources available online via both FEMA and Ready Georgia’s websites, there’s no excuse to not get involved.
Here’s a few of our top preparedness ideas — broken down into National Preparedness Month’s weekly themes — to help get you started.
Make a Plan for Yourself, Family, and Friends
One of the easiest ways you and your loved ones can prepare for an emergency is by talking about it. Figure out where, and how, everyone would evacuate in case of an emergency. Think about creating and consistently updating a group chat or group message, and make sure everyone is signed up for local alerts and warnings. You could even work on creating a financial plan to help handle the costs of a potential disaster. By simply sitting down with those around you and considering a few precautionary plans, you can sleep soundly knowing you’re all prepared.
Consider Helping Out Your Neighbor and Community
Speaking of those around you, your community will no doubt be in need of some care during or after a disaster. You can help your area recover by learning skills you need to help yourself and others until help arrives. You can also join a local Community Emergency Response Team to help educate those around you on how to properly prepare. Want to further educate yourself? Take a few online FEMA classes on subjects like “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” Given that almost half of Americans expect to rely on their neighbors during a disaster, helping yourself help your community could mean a world of difference.
Practice, Practice, Practice
By working through your emergency plans step by step, you might notice a few things missing or in need of improvement. Consider what will happen once you’ve evacuated. Did you pack any and all medications you might need? You should have at least a 30-day supply. What about those pesky bills that you’ll still be charged for? If your preparations included thinking about how you’ll handle an emergency financially, you should be all set.
Give it Back
Say that you have a full preparedness and evacuation plan in place for you and those closest to you. Awesome! But what if none of you are home? What if you’re off at work, the kids are at school, and everyone else is off doing their own thing?
If your entire community is prepared for a disaster, then you have less reason to worry.
Ready.gov offers resources for getting your campus, business, and faith-based organization as ready as you are for an incident.
While opportunities for preparedness last all year round, getting Ready as part of National Preparedness Month is a great idea. Take advantage of resources available online and in your community. Remember, disasters don’t wait. Neither can you.
About the Author
Julia Regeski is a content specialist for the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, where she works to share the agency’s mission of facilitating the protection of life and property against man-made and natural disasters through prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. She previously worked in Governor Deal’s office and for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. Julia graduated from the University of North Georgia with a degree in Writing & Publication.