Take action, be prepared for natural disasters

By the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, HQDA

September is National Preparedness Month.

The events brought on by Hurricane Harvey, as well as previous experiences in the United States and elsewhere, reminds us how vitally important preparing to survive through significant weather and natural disaster event can be.

This September, NPM will focus on planning, with the overarching theme of “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can,” according to Ready.gov, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

Ready says everyone should take action to prepare. It’s how we are all able to help first responders in our community by training how to respond during an emergency and what to do when disaster strikes — where we live, work and visit.

The goal of NPM is to increase the overall number of individuals, families and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, school and places of worship.

Ready recommends concentrating your preparedness efforts in three areas:

  • Be informed.

Know what disasters could affect your area, how to get emergency alerts and where to go if you and your family need to evacuate. Check out the related links to learn what to do before, during and after each type of emergency.

  • Make a plan.

Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

  • Get involved.

There are many ways to get involved, especially before a disaster occurs.

Community leaders agree that the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of trained volunteers and informed individuals taking action to increase the support of emergency response agencies during disasters.

Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies, empowering individuals to lend support.

This year’s NPM effort highlights suggested activities for each week of the month:

Week 1: Sept. 1-9: Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends

  • Make an emergency plan.
  • Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area.
  • Learn your evacuation zone and have an evacuation plan.
  • Check your insurance coverage and review the Document and Insure Property guide.
  • Plan financially for the possibility of disaster.

Week 2: Sept. 10-16: Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community

  • Learn skills you need to help yourself and others until help can arrive.
  • Take “Until Help Arrives” training.
  • Check on your neighbors.
  • Talk with your power company about utility safety.
  • Hold an event on National Prepareathon Day — Sept. 15.

Week 3: Sept. 17-23: Practice and Build Out Your Plans

  • Complete an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK).
  • Maintain emergency savings for use in case of an emergency.
  • Participate in an emergency drill.
  • Know how to access community resources such as shelters and food banks.

Week 4: Sept. 24-30: Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger

  • Get your campus, business, faith-based organization and community organization prepared for an emergency.
  • Join “Weather Ready Nation.”
  • Sign up for “Ready Business Workshop.”

For more information, go to the Ready.gov website.

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