By Samantha Edwards
In 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared September as National Preparedness Month to raise awareness about disasters and their ability to happen at any time. Being prepared for disasters is likely to save lives and decrease property damage. This year’s theme is titled, “A Lasting Legacy: The life you’ve built is worth protecting”.
The Red Cross has long promoted the importance of preparing for disasters, but that message rose to more prominence in the aftermath of the the tragic events of 9/11/2001. Now, every September, the Red Cross encourages everyone to take steps to anticipated the unexpected. Americans are experiencing more disasters, many due to the effects of climate change. Over the past year, more than 40% of Americans — some 130 million people — were living in a county struck by a climate-related disaster, according to analysis from the Washington Post.
How should you and your family prepare for disasters? Follow these steps:
1. Prepare an emergency kit with food, water, medications, and other essentials, such as, flashlights, cell phone chargers, and important documents.
2. Plan what to do if you are separated from family and evacuation is necessary. Include a safety plan for pets, if applicable. Know what items you and your family would have to bring if had to stay in a shelter. Make sure you practice the plan with children in the household a couple of times per year.
3. Stay informed to what may occur as it relates to where you live, work or go to school. Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get key information. The free Red Cross Emergency app and a batter-powered radio can keep you informed during a disaster.