September is National Preparedness Month in the United States. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. FEMA's Ready Campaign offers a wealth of information to help all of us prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters like hurricanes and other major storms, and potential terrorist attacks.
United Way participates in the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, with a particular focus on improving the management of volunteers during a disaster in the U.S. and preparing for coordinated relief and recovery operations during international disasters. At the local level, United Way of Greater Attleboro/Taunton (MA) and others are reminding their communities about what each person can do to be prepared for any disaster. The recommendations from FEMA include:
- Create a kit of emergency supplies. The kit should include water and food for three days, a battery operated radio, flashlight and other items that will allow your family to shelter in place or evacuate.
- Make a plan. Know how you will reach loved ones, where to meet if communications channels are blocked, and how to quickly get out of your community if need be.
- Be informed about the different kinds of terrorist threats.
- Get involved. Join Citizen Corps for education, training, and volunteer service in all kinds of disasters.
Make September the month you volunteer to do what it takes to be as prepared as you can be during a disaster in your community. Once you’ve taken the necessary steps, you’ll just need to check your kit and your plan every so often to make sure everything is up-to-date. You will also have the satisfaction and peace of mind knowing you are doing your part to help your family and your community.