Charleston, W.Va. – Since 2004, September has been designated as National Preparedness Month (NPM) to encourage households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies. The event, now in its ninth year, is a nationwide effort hosted by FEMA’s Ready Campaign and the national Citizen Corps program. The theme for this year’s NPM is “Pledge to Prepare.”
“Emergencies begin at the local level,” said Stephanie Yu, executive director of Volunteer West Virginia. “The first 36 hours after an emergency, responders are helping people most in need. Families should be prepared to take care of themselves during that time. National Preparedness Month is a great opportunity for families and organizations to learn ways to become better prepared for emergencies of all types.”
In the event of an emergency, one of the key messages of NPM is to have enough supplies to be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services, or maybe even without response from police, fire or rescue. Preparing can start with three important steps:
1. Get an emergency supply kit.
2. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency.
3. Be informed about emergencies that could happen in your community, and identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency.
This year, several organizations are coordinating activities that range from training communities to prepare for emergencies to conducting service projects that show appreciation for first responders and others who often step up during times of disaster.
Several activities are featured below.
Individuals and organizations are encouraged to sign up as National Preparedness Month Coalition Members, which allows access to resources and connections to thousands of fellow members across the country to share ways to participate and get a community involved in NPM.
Preparedness goes beyond fire alarms, smoke detectors, dead-bolt locks and extra food in the pantry. By following simple preparedness steps in advance, West Virginians can reduce the impact of emergencies on themselves, their family and their businesses.
For more information, individuals can visit www.ready.wv.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY, for a list of events or to access free materials that will help them prepare their families and communities.
Citizen Corps is a state and local initiative to involve everyone in building a culture of preparedness. West Virginia Citizen Corps is a program of Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service. At the state level, the West Virginia Citizen Corps program promotes the message of citizen preparedness and supports the integration of local trained disaster volunteers into the state’s emergency plans. Across the state, local Citizen Corps Councils and volunteers actively engage in promoting and enhancing community preparedness.