National Preparedness Month's Blog

The Ready Campaign's National Preparedness Month Blog is a forum for news and important information about emergency preparedness.
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September 3, 2008

Making Emergency Preparedness a Part of Our Everyday Lives

The Ready Campaign is excited to bring you this new space aimed at starting a national dialogue on the importance of preparedness by providing insights from experts and real life stories.

As National Preparedness Month begins, many Americans’ focus is on the Gulf Coast region and states inward who have been battling Hurricane Gustav while Tropical Storm Hannah brews in the Atlantic along with two other storm systems, Ike and Josephine -- a stark reminder of the continuing threat of emergencies in our country.

While much attention is given to hurricanes, emergencies happen in communities across the country daily from power outages to tornadoes to wildfires. But despite these every day occurrences, Americans still have not made preparedness a part of their everyday lives. By taking some simple steps to prepare, Americans will have the basic capabilities to take on any disaster and allow responders to focus on those who can’t take care of themselves first.

Specifically, the Ready Campaign encourages all Americans to have an emergency supply kit and “to-go” bag, to develop a family emergency plan, and to be informed about the types of emergency situations that could happen to them as well as about current conditions and what local authorities are advising resident to do in the event of an emergency.

As a working mother of two young children, being prepared has become a part of the fabric of my life from planning daily activities and tasks, to grocery shopping, to making sure our family is prepared to deal with the unexpected. While at times this planning can seem overwhelming, at the end of the day, I know I am in a position to make smarter decisions if I’m ever faced with a serious situation because my family and I have discussed how we will respond if an emergency happens in our area.

A few months ago my four year old daughter experienced her first tornado while visiting my parents in the Midwest. The sirens were loud – not to mention the thunder – and we were sequestered in my parent’s basement for much of the evening. At first she seemed anxious, but then realized she was safe and turned her attention to the television where she asked a million questions as she listened to the weather reports.

Since that visit, she has been very interested in the daily weather reports and always wants to know where certain places are in the country that are experiencing different types of weather conditions. As a result, our family has allowed her to become a part of our emergency planning process making her comfortable, confident and prepared for dealing with the unexpected. Being prepared has now become ingrained in her life.

Preparing for emergencies needs to be part of all of our lives whether dealing with a house fire, a flood or a category three hurricane, we all need to be our own first line of defense. So as we kick off the fifth annual National Preparedness Month, I encourage you to reflect on how prepared you and your family are – and make being prepared a part of your everyday life.

Erin Streeter
Director, Ready Campaign
U.S. Department of Homeland Security



At September 3, 2008 12:07 PM , Blogger Ready said...

This post has been removed by the author.

At September 11, 2008 5:22 PM , Blogger Candice said...

Hi Erin,
Thank you so much for all the preparedness and campaign planning resources provided this month. The Orange County Health Department in Hillsborough, NC is engaging in several activities this September to bring awareness to individual and family preparedness. We have partnered with Orange County Emergency Services to provide two disaster trainings for our Medical Reserve Corps and CERT volunteers, hold two workshops for community/neighborhood leaders, and organize an emergency preparedness fair for the general public at a local "mega" chain store. At all of our events, we'll providing participants with supply checklists, flashlights, first aid kits, backpacks, and rain ponchos to get them motivated about making a 72-hour disaster preparedness kit. Our aim is to use both volunteers and community members as "peer educators" who can spread the word about preparedness in their communities and homes througout the year. Campaign need is based on evidence from our 2007 Community Health Assessment, which showed that over 50% of residents surveyed did not have an emergency prepredness plan or supply kit in place.

Thank you again,
Candice Watkins Robinson, MA
Sr. Public Health Educator/Health Communication
Orange County Health Department
Hillsborough/Chapel Hill, NC


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