National Preparedness Month is recognized every September to raise awareness about ways to prepare for emergencies and disasters, either natural or man-made. The 2022 theme, A Lasting Legacy, focuses on the importance of protecting every life by preparing for disasters. Ultimately, these efforts will help us create and preserve a long-lasting legacy.
Keeping this theme in mind, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends four key steps to prepare for and respond to disasters.
- Make a plan.
- Discuss a shelter plan
- Have a specified evacuation route
- Hurricanes are very common in Coastal Virginia, so it’s important to know your evacuation zone if you reside in a high-risk area
- Decide on how members of the household will best communicate with one another
- Prepare an an emergency preparedness kit that includes
- Water (for drinking and sanitation)
- Non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Consider specific needs within your household, such as:
- Certain ages may require special considerations, such as specified food for infants or necessary medication for elderly family members
- Dietary restrictions or needs may require certain lower sodium foods or gluten-free items
- Disabled individuals may require a wheelchair, a cane, or other assistive devices
- Identify any language barriers that may exist
- Be cognizant of religious values or beliefs
- Supplies will be needed for pets or services animals
- Fill out a family emergency plan or use it as a guide to creating your own.
- Practice your plan with your friends, family, or household.
For more information about creating a plan, visit www.ready.gov/plan.
The CDC also recommends planning ahead by staying…
- Healthy: Know how to protect your safety and wellness.
- Connected: Discuss ways to communicate with family, friends, and caregivers.
- Calm: Practice ways to stay cool, calm, and collected during emergency situations.
- Informed: Find reliable sources of health and emergency information.
Once you finish planning, it’s time to take action. Make sure to remember your…
- Personal needs: Gather enough food, water, and medical supplies to last at least three days.
- Prescriptions: Talk to your doctor about creating an emergency supply of prescription and necessary over-the-counter medications
- Practical skills: Learn self-help and life-saving skills to use during an emergency.
- Power sources: Prepare for power outages with backup power sources.
- Paperwork: Collect and protect important documents and medical records.