This September, the Southeast is bracing for hurricanes, while the Great Plains keep a watchful eye for tornadoes, and the West Coast is still trying to recover from a devastating wildfire season. In addition, there is always the fear of a local terrorist attack or act of violence. September is National Preparedness month. This year, don’t just let your citizens fear the possibility of a disaster. Help them to take the steps necessary to proactively prepare their families and their homes for the types of disasters that could threaten your community.
The Purpose of National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month is recognized every September. Its purpose is to remind us all to take the necessary steps to be in the best position to survive an unexpected disaster with minimal impact or loss.
Helping Your Citizens Prepare for a Disaster
Encourage citizens to take part in National Preparedness Month by offering the following educational opportunities, tips, and resources.
- Offer additional lifesaving skill courses, such as CPR and first aid.
- Conduct public safety drills with your mass notification system.
- Encourage additional volunteers for your citizen emergency response team (CERT).
- Include a statement stuffer in utility bills encouraging citizens to check their home or renter’s insurance policies to ensure they are protected from common hazards in your area such as floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes.
- Remind citizens all month long to stay vigilant and informed by posting tips and best practices on social media and using common National Preparedness Month hashtags such as:
- Work with your local sheriff’s office or police or fire department to create informational videos and share them to your local government website and social media, like how to turn off a gas line, safely operate a generator, or board up windows.
- Encourage citizens to sign up to receive alerts via your mass notification system.
- Remind citizens about your community’s designated evacuation zones and routes, especially if you anticipate seasonal disasters such as hurricanes. Encourage families to make personal emergency evacuation and communication plans for their homes.
- Create and share tutorial videos that instruct citizens what supplies to stock in their homes and vehicles in case of a disaster.
- Encourage citizens to build a contingency plan for their pets in the event of a disaster.
Also, take the opportunity that National Preparedness Month offers for your public safety department to review its community emergency preparedness policies and update and refresh any that may be outdated or in need of improvement. Also, if your community has not already signed up with FEMA to utilize its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), take the time to learn about this life-saving mass notification tool and how, if integrated into your emergency mass notification system, you can use it to inform citizens and travelers of potentially life-saving information in seconds.
Remember that while September is worthy of additional preparedness considerations, citizens and public safety officers need to keep thoughts of safety and awareness top of mind all year long, because you never know when the unexpected will occur.