National Preparedness Month

The Air Force is encouraging Airmen and their families to focus on emergency planning in September as part of National Preparedness Month. This year’s theme is “Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.” (Courtesy Image)

The Air Force is encouraging Airmen and their families to focus on emergency planning in September as part of National Preparedness Month. This year’s theme is “Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.” (Courtesy Image)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- This month marks the 12th annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The goals of these organizations are to inform the public about how to prepare for any type of emergency that can strike, ranging from natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, to terrorist attacks that involve the use of chemical, biological or radiological devices. By using different resources, you can learn how to construct emergency kits and plans, and find information on disasters that could potentially affect you.

What if there was a natural disaster that knocked out basic services in your area? Do you have the necessary items to last until you are rescued? This is what an emergency kit is for; the moments where you don't have time to gather or shop for the essential supplies you need. The two most essential items you need are food and water. It is recommended to pack three days' worth of nonperishable food and three gallons of water per family member in your household to sustain proper nutrition during an emergency situation. Other valuable items to have in your kit would be a first-aid kit, multi-tool, and a flashlight with batteries.

Having a coordinated and well thought out plan for your family is just as important as having an emergency kit. This plan should touch on multiple subjects, including safe routes, methods of communication, and meeting spots. Check to ensure that the places your family frequently visits, such as your child's school or your workplace, have their own emergency plans. These are important details to consider because you and your family are not always in the same area. Lack of preparation makes it difficult to know what to do or where to go and adds unnecessary risks during an emergency. Building a kit and making a plan can seem like a daunting task, but there are websites and other forms of media that can help you prepare and formulate emergency response actions.

A great website to visit for information on all types of disasters is www.ready.gov. One of the features ready.gov offers is a template that allows you to construct an emergency plan specifically tailored to your family's needs. The website also has a guideline on the items and supplies that should be packed into your emergency kit. You can also check with your local emergency management office for information on emergencies that frequently occur in your area. You can talk to the emergency services nearby and see what kind of policies and plans they have in effect for certain disasters and mirror your plan in accordance to theirs. There is a multitude of other ways to learn about how to prepare for emergencies, so don't stop here.

National Preparedness Month is about being informed and knowing how to be prepared. From learning how to set up an emergency kit, to having a plan ready to act on, this month will be beneficial to you, your family and the community. So get out there and learn about the surrounding area to better prepare yourself for a potential emergency situation.

-Staff Sgt. Daniel Vance, 355th Civil Engineer Squadron, contributed to this report.