Repair the World Staffer Aaron Miner on National Preparedness Monthby Leah Koenig | September 4, 2012 | 0 comments
September is National Preparedness Month – a month dedicated to educating Americans about preparing for natural disasters, terrorist threats and other emergency situations.
It sounds intimidating, but there’s no need for nail-biting here! Repair the World’s very own Aaron Miner, Director of Volunteer Initiatives (and former staffer at Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC Service initiative), shares some tips for getting prepared for emergency situations (like making a “go bag” or emergency disaster kit to have at the ready), volunteering to help other people in your community do the same, and how to pitch in when a disaster strikes.
What and when is National Preparedness Month? Why is it this particular month?
National Preparedness Month has been observed in the US since 2004. The month was chosen as a reminder of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and also because September is typically the height of hurricane season. The month is coordinated nationally by FEMA in conjunction with state offices of emergency preparedness and action, as well as major national emergency organizations like the Red Cross. Throughout the month, events are held that inform the public about how to be prepared in case of natural disasters, localized emergencies like fires in people’s homes, and terrorist acts. People are encouraged – and really should – take time in this month to set emergency plans, pack a “go bag” and make sure that they are aware of their office and town’s emergency procedures.
What are the most important things for people to have in their emergency “go bag?”
A “go bag” is essential to have in any type of emergency. Some of the most important items to have in it include: copies of important documents kept in a zipped plastic bag, enough water for each member of a household to drink for three days, non-perishable food with a handheld can opener, snacks like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit, a first aid kit, hygiene items like soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, a flashlight with operating batteries, a whistle, and a battery-operated radio. People should also keep their cell phones charged up in case they have to run for awhile without electricity to recharge them. They should also have blankets and layers of clothes ready depending on the time of year.
You should check your go bag’s preparedness every 6 months. Change the batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors, and then check to make sure your go bag is in order. You’ll always be prepared if you follow that schedule.
What are some ways that people can volunteer, formally and informally, to help their neighbors prepare for an emergency?
Many cities have their own offices for emergency management and have programming that uses volunteers to help teach the public about emergency awareness. Most are coordinated through the National Citizen Corps, so people can check there for opportunities. You can hold a go bag kit stuffing party at your school, or with your friends, and deliver them to home-bound seniors. Talk to friends and distribute a “kit 411” to friends via email. Even something as simple as checking on your own family members to make sure that they have what they need can help.
What about volunteering after an emergency or disaster strikes?
Check out organizations like American Red Cross, NECHAMA, and JDRC to assist in emergencies. The Citizen Corps often activates their volunteers to help after an emergency.
Where can people find out more?
To learn more, including a list of things happening in your area and tips for preparedness in all types of emergencies, visit ready.gov.
And for more information, check out this short video on being prepared: