Today is the 10 year anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks that our country has faced.  I was one of the lucky ones: I was far away from New York, and I don’t know anyone who was there on that day.  We learned a lot of things about our country both during the events of 9/11/2001 and in the days and weeks immediately following.

All this year, but especially in August and so far in September, our country has had it’s share of emergency situations.  They merely highlighted the fact that it is incumbent on each and every one of us to be prepared for the worst to happen, because it is just a matter of time until we are directly affected by an emergency of some sort. 

September is National Preparedness Month, and I would like to share some thoughts from someone who is a national leader in emergency preparedness

This September: Remember, Prepare, Plan with your Family
By Darryl J. Madden, Director, Ready Campaign

This September will mark the ten year anniversary of 9/11 and we ask you to take time to remember those lost as well as time to make sure you are prepared for future emergencies. September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), which was founded after 9/11 to increase preparedness in the U.S. It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for an unexpected emergency.

Emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere. If you’ve seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities and families just like yours. This September, please prepare in the event your family must go for a few days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services. Just follow these three steps: Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be informed.

Get a Kit
Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for your family – water, non-perishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and a battery-powered radio. If you own pets, remember to include their food and supplies in your supply kit. The Ready Kids family-friendly website (Ready.gov/kids) features instructions on what families and teachers can do to prepare for emergencies and the role kids can play in that effort. Spanish material is available at Listo Niños (Listo.gov).

Make a Plan
Discuss and agree on an emergency plan with your family. You can fill out the Family Emergency Plan on page 51 of this toolkit, or download it from our website at Ready.gov/makeaplan.

Be Informed
In addition to the Ready.gov site, free information is available from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources to assist you. Contact your local emergency management agencies to get details on specific hazards in your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get specific information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up to receive emergency alerts if they are available.

Consider planning a Ready Kids event in your community to encourage other families to remember, and prepare. Sample activities that are great for schools, scouts and other youth groups include:

  • Helping Girl Scouts & Boy Scout work towards achieving their new Preparedness Patch
  •  Volunteering to present preparedness information in your child’s class or in PTO/PTA meetings
  •  Inviting officials from your local Office of Emergency Management, Citizen Corps Council, or first responder teams to speak at schools or youth events

As FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate reminds us, “Individuals and families are the most important members of the nation’s emergency management team. Being prepared can save precious time if there is a need to respond to an emergency.”
For more information on National Preparedness Month and for help getting your family, business or community prepared, visit Ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO, and TTY 1-800-462-7585.