As we've seen in recent months, emergencies ranging from health epidemics, like the H1N1 Flu, to extreme weather, like Hurricane Bill, can hit at a moment's notice.
September is the sixth annual National Preparedness Month (NPM) which is the perfect time to remind citizens about the importance of having an emergency preparedness plan for their families, businesses, and communities. FEMA's Ready Campaign is asking Americans to think about how prepared they are for anything from thunderstorms to terrorist attacks.
With support from coalition members across the nation, which include a wide range of state and local governments, businesses, and organizations, NPM is held each September to increase public awareness about emergency preparedness.
This year, the Ready Campaign is helping Americans understand that preparedness goes beyond fire alarms, smoke detectors, dead-bolt locks and extra food in the pantry to change perceptions about emergency preparedness and help Americans understand what it truly means to be "Ready."
A study released this summer by Citizen Corps, FEMA's emergency preparedness and resiliency grassroots strategy, found that Americans are not as prepared as they think. Fewer than half of individuals (42%) had an emergency plan for their home. Additionally, individuals' low level of familiarity with critical local information such as the community alerts and warning systems (45%), shelter locations (31%), and community evacuation routes (26%) indicate that these essential elements are missing or incomplete from household planning efforts.
The Ready Campaign Web site, www.ready.gov, can be an invaluable resource to help citizens prepare by taking these simple steps: Get a Kit; Make a Plan; Be Informed; and Get Involved in community efforts such as Citizen Corps.
Ready's Web site features downloadable emergency supply checklists and family emergency plan templates, as well as new online emergency planning tools. Individuals can also call 1-800-BE-READY for more information or follow the Ready Campaign on Twitter under the username readydotgov.