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Since 2008, the campaign has been managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The goal of the campaign is to encourage and instruct people on how to do three things: create an emergency supply kit, develop an emergency plan for their family, and learn how to respond to different kinds of emergencies.
September is National Preparedness Month in the United States. This is an awareness campaign that was initially created in 2003 through a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Ad Council.
In addition to the general information presented by the agency, specific resources for business, children, the disabled, and other specialized groups have been developed.
Let’s take a look at some of the Federal recommendations for disaster planning. We will be covering a lot of this same material in more detail in future posts, but you can consider this to be a good starting point for your own emergency preparations.
Each person in your group—be they family, friends, or neighbors—should have an emergency kit consisting of the following (keep in mind that these are minimum recommendations covering three days):
As stated, these are the bare minimum supplies you want to have on hand. Depending on the makeup and needs of your group, Ready.gov also recommends that you consider adding the following items:
The reasons for including most of these should be obvious, but if not, we will cover them in detail in future posts.
There are four basic questions to ask when creating a disaster plan:
Let’s look at these in a little more detail.
1. How will I/we receive official warnings and updates?
Make sure that any emergency radio you purchase for your emergency kit is able to receive AM, FM, and NOAA channels.
Some are also able to receive broadcast television signals or shortwave bands. Many communities offer free local emergency text services that you can sign up to receive on your cellphone, tablet, or other devices. Remember, each person in your group needs their own radio or device.
2. Where will I/we shelter?
Your shelter options will depend on the type of emergency (if it’s a tornado, go lower; if it’s a flood, go higher).
You may need to shelter at home, or at your place of employment, or at a community shelter run by emergency services, or even outside of the immediate geographical area.
Make sure everyone in your group knows where to go under which circumstances.
3. What if I/we have to evacuate?
Sometimes you will have enough warning to be able to evacuate before disaster strikes.
Whether you do or don’t, be familiar with several ways to get out of the area, both in a vehicle and on foot. Make sure everyone in your group knows these routes, and designate a place for everyone to meet in case you get separated.
4. How will I/we stay in communication with family and/or friends?
In addition to keeping a list of phone numbers and addresses (physical and e-mail), you can also use messaging apps or internet social sites such as Facebook or Twitter to stay in touch. You should also designate a person who lives out of town as your group’s central contact, so they can pass on messages should your group become separated.
Question number two above touches on an important fact: everything depends on the type of emergency you are facing.
As we will learn over the coming weeks, it is impossible to plan for every single potential disaster as a separate event, but there is enough overlap in your needs and priorities that a good general emergency prep kit and disaster plan will see you safely through most of them. For example, you’re going to need food, water, and shelter no matter what type of disaster you’re facing.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post, and have found it to be a useful guide in beginning your emergency preparations. Remember, we will be covering a lot of this same information in greater detail with future blog posts, so be sure to check back for more!
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