National Preparedness Month
Don't Wait. Communicate. Make a family emergency plan today.
Week one: September is recognized as National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month serves as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we visit. “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,” returns this September with a continuing emphasis on preparedness for youth, older adults, and people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. Thank you for taking time help make America more prepared for emergencies.
Week two: Prepare family and friends
Consider the following situations for your emergency plan so everyone will know what to do if you are not together.
- How to get emergency alerts and warnings
- How to get to safe locations for relevant emergencies
- How to contact each other if cell phone, internet, or landline doesn’t work
- How to let family and loved ones know if each other is safe
- How to get to a meeting place after the emergency
Download the following templates to prepare and record your plan.
- Steps to make a plan (PDF)
- For parents (PDF)
- For kids (PDF)
- For transit commuters (PDF)
- For your wallet (PDF)
Week three: Prepare through service
Individuals can make a difference in their own community. By participating in disaster preparedness activities, people can affect preparedness at the community level. Training is often provided for free.
- Get CERT trained in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
- Get trained and volunteer with Medical Reserve Corps to provide support during a public health emergency.
- Get trained in CPR and basic first aid and volunteer to help mass care and sheltering operations at your local American Red Cross Chapter.
- Support community safety and security by getting trained and involved in Neighborhood Watch and Volunteers in Police Service.
- Become a Meals on Wheels volunteer to provide meals and essential disaster preparedness information to seniors.
- American Radio Relay League supports the advancement of Amateur Radio Service and trains individuals interested in learning the skill of operating ham radios.
Week four: Prepare as an individual
Be informed about emergencies likely in your area: Sign up for local alerts, monitor the news and weather and download the FEMA App (at right). FEMA App features include:
- Alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations
- Safety reminders, tips to survive natural disasters and a customizable emergency checklist
- Locations of open shelters and where to talk to FEMA in person (or on the phone)
- Share disaster photos to help first responders
Make a plan based on your needs and situation. Households/individuals should consider and customize their plans for individual needs and responsibilities based on the methods of communication, types of shelter and methods of transportation available to them. Other factors to keep in mind include:
- Different ages of family members
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
Build a kit or have supplies on hand that you’ll need to live independently for several days. A basic emergency kit should include the following recommended items:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Week five: Participate in America's PrepareAthon! on September 30
America's PrepareAthon! is a grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience. Join others around the country to practice your preparedness!
Ten things you can do to participate
- Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps, and/or check access for wireless emergency alerts.
- Create and test emergency communication plans.
- Assemble or update emergency supplies.
- Conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions for local hazards.
- Participate in a preparedness discussion, training, or class.
- Collect and safeguard critical documents.
- Document property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards.
- Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage (mitigation).
- Conduct an exercise of a disaster scenario to review and improve your emergency plan.
- Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.
Have you taken action? Tell others what you did to prepare for emergencies and how it made a difference using #PrepareAthon.
Please disregard information in this video about CERT training as it is outdated. For current information about CERT, visit the CERT webpage.