Prepare For Natural Disasters – Now Is The Time
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Sadly, year after year, more and more natural disasters are happening all over the country and around the world. Now is the time to prepare for natural disasters.
That’s why Ready.gov chose “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.” for their September National Preparedness Month theme this year. It’s the sobering reality of our times.
Each year, Ready.gov chooses weekly themes to promote and encourage all Americans to prepare for natural disasters adequately. I am particularly a fan of this year’s themes because I love the actionable items they propose and a couple of them are not always thought of as often.
This year’s weekly National Preparedness Month themes are:
Week 1 (September 1-8) – Make and Practice Your Plan
Week 2 (September 9-15) – Learn Life Saving Skills; this week also includes the National Day of Action on September 15. Learn more about this important day at Ready.gov/prepareathon.
Week 3 (September 16-22) – Check Your Insurance Coverage
Week 4 (September 23-29) – Save For an Emergency
Make and Practice Your Plan
The theme of Week 1 is perhaps the most familiar and important preparation advice because, above all else, the safety of and communication with family and friends is most precious. While you’re planning, include both meet-up and communication plans and who will grab which supplies you’ll need.
As always, there is a fairly comprehensive recommended list:
Backup battery supply and charging cords for cell phones.
Respiratory (face) masks to diminish inhalation of any smoke, ash or other airborne substances.
Bottled water (a gallon per day, per person – minimum of 3 days’ worth).
High protein food supplies that won’t make you too thirsty (3 days’ worth per person). Canned is often recommended for durability but lighter-weight food items are also advised in the case of needing to carry food to safety (such as protein bars).
A battery-powered (or even hand cranked) radio, flashlights, and plenty of batteries for both.
First aid kit and a whistle to signal for help.
Moist towelettes and garbage bags for personal sanitation along with clean clothes.
Manual can opener.
Wrenches or pliers to turn off utilities if necessary along with a fire extinguisher.
2 weeks' worth of prescription medications; extra pairs of glasses.
Infant supplies; Feminine care supplies; Pet supplies.
Plastic and paper mess kits.
Warm blankets and a portable heater that doesn’t require electricity (for cold months) and battery-powered fans (for hot months).
Learn Life Saving Skills and Save For Emergency
I appreciate the theme for Week 2. Knowing at least basic first aid and life-saving skills, such as CPR (though I pray you never need to use them) could one day prove to be the most important skills you ever took time to learn. Throughout every community across the United States, both the American Red Cross and local emergency and rescue teams regularly offer classes in such skills. Sign up for a class in your area and learn this month. Start at RedCross.org/take-a-class.
Final Two Weeks – Check Your Insurance
The final two weeks I am thrilled are part of this year’s theme. Although financial experts mention them often, people don’t always think to do these as part of preparedness. Knowing precisely what coverage you have from your insurance – and potentially shoring up holes in it – is the difference between a financial disaster on top of a natural one or the relief of guaranteed funds when you need them most. Having your own emergency fund goes hand-in-hand with this. Because, sad as this truth is, it’s not if you’re going to need extra money, it’s only when and for what reason. Start setting money aside this month. Don’t wait.
As always, family is the most important and precious. Be sure to share all the information, including the location of supplies and documents, so every family member is ready for any situation.