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Be Ready – September is National Preparedness Month

September is recognized as National Preparedness Month (NPM). We all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work and visit. Use these tips from to be prepared for unexpected emergencies.

Family Emergency Communications Plans

Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to think about the following situations and plan just in case. Consider the following questions when making a plan:

What to Consider During an Emergency

How will my family/household:

  • Be notified emergency alerts and warnings?
  • Get to safe locations for relevant emergencies?
  • Communicate if cell phones, the internet, or landlines do not work?
  • Let loved ones know they are safe?
  • Get to a meeting place after the emergency?

How to Create a Family Emergency Communications Plan

Use these steps to customize a family emergency communication plan:

  1. Don't Wait. Communicate.Understand how to receive emergency alerts and warnings. Make sure all household members are able to get alerts about an emergency from local officials. Check with your local emergency management agency to see what is available in your area. Learn more about alerts by visiting:
  2. Discuss family/household plans for disasters that may affect your area and plan where to go. Plan together so that everyone in the household understands where to go during a different type of disaster like a hurricane, tornado or wildfire.
  3. Collect information. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family that includes: phone (work, cell, office); email; social media; medical facilities, doctors, service providers and schools.
  4. Identify information and pick an emergency meeting place. Things to consider:
    Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite.
    Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access and functional needs.
  5. If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations.
    – In your neighborhood: A mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor’s house.
    – Outside of your neighborhood: library, community center, place of worship, or family friend’s home.
    – Outside of your town or city: home of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address and discuss ways you would get there.
  6. Share information. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
  7. Practice your plan. Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans, communication plans and meeting place after a disaster. And then, practice. Just like you would a fire drill.

Learn About Individual Preparedness

Take the time to know what you should do in the event of an emergency. Visit America’s PrepareAthonFind to take action today. You can find out where preparedness events are happening, connect with other communities and add activities to demonstrate how you are taking action to prepare.

Ways to Prepare In Advance

  • Emergency supply kitBe aware of specific needs you may have if an emergency strikes. You or those around you may require medication, eye glasses, devices that you may count on, pet needs and so on.
  • Build a kit with supplies that you will need to live independently for several days. Plan for sheltering at home, at work and on the road.
    – Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
    – Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
    – Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
    – Flashlight and extra batteries
    – First aid kit
    – Whistle to signal for help
    – Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
    – Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
    – Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
    – Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
    – Local maps
  • Download the FEMA app for safety tips and National Weather Service alerts for up to five locations.

Safety Tips During A Disaster

  • Know what to do when roads are flooded: “Turn Around Don’t Drown®! It may save your life!”
  • If you’re already on high ground during a flood, stay where you are. Be prepared by having your supplies already stored.
  • Wildfires often begin unnoticed. Call 911 if you see a wildfire!
  • You may have to evacuate quickly due to a hurricane. Learn your evacuation routes and identify where you will stay.
  • An emergency may knock out power. Prepare by stocking non-perishable food items and water.
  • During an earthquake DROP, COVER, & HOLD ON.
  • Know your community’s local hurricane evacuation plan and identify several evacuation routes for your location.
  • Don’t risk your family’s safety; follow the instructions of local officials – and if told to evacuate, evacuate!

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