By Carolanne Chavanne, CFP®
September is National Preparedness Month, a reminder to individuals and families to take proactive steps in preparing for the unthinkable.
When a natural disaster strikes or when we are faced with unforeseen circumstances, having a preparedness plan can make an enormous difference to the outcome. In this blog, we explore the significance of National Preparedness Month and provide practical tips to help you and your loved ones be better prepared for any emergency that might arise.
The Importance of National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month was established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and aims to promote disaster readiness among communities across the USA.1 This annual campaign promotes proactive planning, education, and communication to enhance resilience during emergencies.
If you wish to participate in National Preparedness Month, here are a few tips to keep yourself and your family safe in the case of an emergency.
Assess Your Risk
The first step in any emergency preparedness plan involves understanding the potential risks and hazards that exist in your region. Depending on where you live, you might be at greater risk of experiencing hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, or extreme weather events. Conduct a thorough risk assessment for your area and take note of the types of disasters that could affect you.
Create a Family Emergency Plan
Developing a comprehensive family emergency plan is essential to ensuring everyone’s safety. Make time to sit down with your family members and discuss various scenarios that may occur. Outline the necessary steps to take in each case.
Some key components to include in your emergency plan are:
Establish an out-of-area contact person that everyone can contact if local communication lines are down or overloaded. Ensure every family member knows how to reach this contact and agrees on a designated meeting point in the event that you must evacuate.
Identify primary and secondary evacuation routes from your home and neighborhood. Practice these routes with your family to familiarize everyone with the process.
An Emergency Kit
Prepare a well-stocked emergency kit that contains essentials, such as non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, blankets, and important documents. Customize the kit to cater to the specific needs of each family member. For example, specific medications and/or baby supplies may need to be included. Ready.gov has a comprehensive list of things to include in your emergency kit.2
A Pet Care Plan
If you have pets, make arrangements for their safety too. Include food and water for your pets, as well as their medication and necessary documents, in your emergency kit. Identify pet-friendly emergency shelters or boarding facilities in your area.3
Any Special Considerations
Be sure to consider any special needs or accommodations that your family members may have, such as individuals who are elderly or disabled. Ensure that your plan adequately addresses their requirements.
Keeping yourself informed about potential disasters is crucial. Register for local alerts and warnings through government agencies or reliable apps. Stay updated on weather forecasts and emergency information, especially during stormy seasons. Social media and community apps can also be valuable sources of real-time information.
Practice Your Emergency Plan
A plan is only effective if everyone knows what to do. Schedule periodic emergency drills with your family to reinforce everyone’s knowledge of the plan and to keep everyone well-versed in its implementation. Remember to update the plan as needed, particularly when changes in family dynamics and health conditions arise or when there is new information related to disaster preparedness.
National Preparedness Month is an important reminder that being prepared for emergencies is not just a choice but a responsibility. By taking proactive measures and engaging in thoughtful planning, you can significantly increase the chances of safeguarding your family’s well-being during unexpected situations.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.