By Frank Butler
ATLANTA – Making and practicing an emergency plan, building a kit, preparing for disasters and teaching youth disaster preparedness is the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s call to action for September’s National Preparedness Month. “Everyone should be prepared for unexpected emergencies – especially families and businesses in the Southeast,” said FEMA Region IV Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech. “As we enter the peak of hurricane season and continue to respond to COVID-19, we cannot let our guard down. By preparing for the hazards that are most likely to occur where you live and work, you and your family will be more resilient and better able to handle an emergency.”
The theme of the 2020 National Preparedness Month is “Disasters don’t wait. Make your plan today,” and here are four actions you can take now to prepare:
Make a Plan: Families and individuals should plan and practice how to stay safe and communicate during a disaster. FEMA’s Ready campaign provides resources that make creating a family communications plan easy. Update your plan using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines COVID-19.
Build a Kit: Your kit should have essential items such as food, water, medications and cash to last several days. Don’t forget face coverings, soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. FEMA’s Ready Campaign provides a list of recommended supplies and additional items to consider for the unique needs of your household, including seniors, individuals with disabilities, and pets.
Check your financial preparedness – Have enough insurance to repair or replace your home and its contents and pay for a place for you to stay if your home is damaged or inaccessible. Standard property insurance does not cover flooding, so purchase a separate policy through your insurance company, agent or the National Flood Insurance Program, whether you are a renter or an owner. A plan to pay your bills and access to your important records and accounts will help you get back on your feet faster and avoid problems with your credit when you need it most. FEMA has resources to help you prepare financially for the unexpected, so you can take care of your immediate needs after a disaster.
Prepare Youth for Disasters: Make disaster preparedness exciting for children by creating a Ready kit scavenger hunt using the checklist provided in the Ready Kids section or download the Ready 2 Help card game, which teaches children five simple steps to take in an emergency.
The purpose of National Preparedness Month, managed and sponsored by the Ready campaign, is to raise awareness and encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses, and places of worship. National Preparedness Month is the perfect opportunity to share emergency preparedness information and host activities across the country to help Americans understand what it truly means to be ready.