How Your Family Can Participate in National Preparedness Month
Since 2004, FEMA has hosted National Preparedness Month (NPM) in September. This is a month-long outreach to encourage people to practice preparedness. If you subscribe to Waterfull’s newsletter, then you likely already practice basic preparedness. However, the U.S. Census has found that almost half of Americans are not prepared for disasters. Check out these alarming statistics from the last U.S. Census Bureau.
- Over 40% of Americans do not have an emergency water supply.
- Over 47% of Americans do not have a prepared emergency evacuation kit.
- 63.5% of Americans do not have a determined emergency meeting place or communication plan.
Given that almost half of the U.S. is unprepared for a disaster, it makes sense to do a month-long outreach explaining the importance of preparedness. You likely have family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors who are not prepared. By participating in National Preparedness Month, you can show these individuals why preparedness is important, as well as how easy it can be.
The 2020 National Preparedness Month theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” This month’s newsletter will focus on easy ways to make a disaster plan today, so you (or those you know) don’t wait or delay.
Make a Plan
The first way to participate in NPM is to make a disaster plan and encourage those you know to make a plan. As the statistics show, most Americans do not have a clear plan for where to meet or who to call when disaster strikes. This is essential.
Every household needs to identify emergency contacts (including someone who does not live with you), and family members need to know how to get in touch with these contacts in the event of an emergency. If you have children, this means helping them memorize names and phone numbers.
Additionally, you need to identify a meetup place if you happen to become separated from your family during an emergency. You also need to make a plan that identifies safe spaces within your home and escape routes out of your home.
Build a Kit
If you do not have an emergency kit, National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to build one. Essentially, your emergency kit should have the basic supplies you need to survive, and you should be able to grab it and go. Here is a list of basic supplies for an emergency kit:
- Water – a 3 day supply per person (The 30-gallon Waterfull Barrel can sustain a family of 4 for 7 days. That’s 1 gallon of water per person per day and extra for your four-legged family members.)
- Food – a 3 day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered radio and an NOAA Weather Radio
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Dust mask
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Moist towelettes
- Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers for shutting off utilities
- Manual can opener
- Local maps
- Prescription medications (a 3-day supply)
Preparedness tools, like the Waterfull Barrel, can give you peace of mind and save you time. For example, you can purchase pre-assembled emergency kits from the American Red Cross.
Another way to participate in NPM is to take some time this month to learn more about disasters and preparedness. Be informed. Google the disaster risks for your area. Find out where your community’s shelters are located and what evacuations will look like. Understand the different types of weather alerts, such as the difference between a watch and a warning. Start following local news sources and weather channels on social media. The little bit of time you take today to be informed about possible future emergencies can save your life tomorrow.
Once you have a plan, a kit, and the basic preparedness knowledge, it’s time to get involved. What better time to get involved in helping others prepare for disasters than this September during National Preparedness Month?
There are many ways to get involved. We suggest starting close to home and moving outward. After you have taught those in your household preparedness basics, move out into your neighborhood. In the event of a disaster, it is your neighbors who will be the first in line to offer assistance. Therefore, it is a good idea to get to know them. Find out who in your neighborhood has which skills and tools. Then, consider working together on a neighborhood preparedness plan.
Then, move outside the neighborhood and into your community. NPM is a great time to take a first aid and CPR course through the American Red Cross or sign up to volunteer with Citizen Corps or another community service organization.
Prepare for Disasters
Finally, take the time to prepare for disasters. While we hope we will never be affected by a disaster, we can end up in a much worse position if we do face one unprepared. For example, home insurance is an absolute must for homeowners. However, home insurance doesn’t cover events such as floods or earthquakes. Therefore, one of the best ways to prepare for disasters if you live in areas at risk for these types of events is to purchase separate insurance policies.
Along those same lines, National Preparedness Month is a good time to look at your finances and see if you have enough money saved in the event of an emergency. If not, start preparing to save an emergency fund.
Another way to prepare for disasters is to evaluate your home. Are there any home improvements you can do that will protect your home against disasters? For example, if you live in a hurricane zone, consider investing in storm windows. If you live in an earthquake zone, secure your furniture.
During NPM, take time to prepare your important documents for disaster. For instance, you may put them in a waterproof, fire-safe box or you may upload the documents into a cloud internet service.
Lastly, prepare for disasters by signing up for emergency alerts. Ready.gov, American Red Cross, and the National Weather Service all offer mobile emergency alert apps. If you have signed up for these alerts, you will receive a notification that will give you time to prepare during an emergency.
The Waterfull Barrel = Perfect for Water Emergency Preparedness
When disaster strikes and the water supply is interrupted, you may be without water for more than 3 days. That’s why you need a Waterfull Barrel.
DIY: Emergency Food and Preparedness Go Bags
Like the people of Nevada County, you can assemble emergency food and preparedness go bags for your family. If you are able, you can follow the example from this month’s disaster news story and donate some food and preparedness go bags to a local shelter.
A go bag has a minimum amount of supplies that you can grab and go. In other words, it is smaller than your traditional emergency kit, but it has enough essentials to get you from Point A to Point B. Ideally, the food items in the go bag should have a long shelf life, be easy to open and require little preparation.
Here are some food suggestions for your go bag:
- Tuna packets
- Protein bars
- Apple sauce
- Powdered milk
- Canned meat
- Peanut Butter
- Dried Fruits
In addition to a few food items, a go bag should also include water, a small first aid kit, a flashlight, and extra batteries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, your go bag should also include a face mask and hand sanitizer.
Review: Solving the Water Storage Problem
More than anything else, disaster survival depends on water […]
A major problem [with water preparedness] is storage. While there are available water supplies in the average house (e.g. water heaters, toilet tanks), most people would prefer a more conventional supply such as bottled water. However, in these days of environmental consciousness, many bottled water containers available in supermarkets are designed to degrade after a period of months. […] Part of the problem with long term storage of water is the need to periodically replace the stored water, something that many people neglect.
At last year’s International Association of Emergency Managers conference, a new company called Waterfull introduced a potential solution that is both simple and effective.