Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? This month is dedicated to helping communities understand how to prepare for all types of emergencies, from natural disasters to biological and chemical threats.

Emergency preparedness involves basic elements that are the same for most types of emergencies. The first step to being ready is to buy or put together an disaster supplies kit. This kit should include enough supplies for at least 3 days, but preferably for as long as 2 weeks. Typical kit items will include:

  • Water - one gallon per person, per day
  • Non perishable food
  • First aid kit
  • Manual can opener
  • Extra batteries
  • Battery-operated or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight
  • Toiletries/sanitation items
  • Personal documents and extra cash
  • Medications and other medical necessities

This list is not exhaustive and your needs may vary based on your unique circumstances.

The second step in being prepared is to make an emergency plan. This plan will include how you and your family will contact each other during emergencies, meeting places, evacuation routes, and steps to take during different situations. It's important that everyone in your family is familiar with every aspect of the emergency plan.

Thirdly, you'll want to make sure that you stay informed during an emergency. You may need to check a variety of different types of media to get the information you need. Some emergencies may prevent you from being able to check news sources online or on TV, making an emergency radio that much more important.

Finally, do what you can to get involved. This may include taking training classes on first aid or volunteering to help your community and first responders.

Your preparedness may mean the difference between life and death - not only for you and your family, but for friends and neighbors as well!