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Disasters don't wait, so make your plan today

National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster planning. As our nation continues to respond to COVID-19, there is no better time to be involved than this September.

The end of the month will provide a natural transition into #ShakeOut messaging, focused on earthquake preparedness, as the annual ShakeOut drill will take place Thursday, Oct. 15, at 10:15 a.m.

FEMA’s 2020 theme FOR National Preparedness Month is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”

Make a plan

Take action today to plan for any emergency or disaster. Make a plan that includes how you will receive local alerts and warnings, where you will go if you need to evacuate, and how you will communicate with family and friends.

Build a kit

A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency or available “to go” if you have to evacuate in a hurry. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days for each person in your home. By having a disaster supply kit with essential items, you can be better prepared — no matter where or when disaster strikes. Start building your kit today.

Prepare for disasters: know the hazards in your area

There are many low- to no-cost things you can do today that will help you in the event of a disaster or emergency, including measures everyone should take during the COVID-19 pandemic. Know what disasters and hazards could affect your area. Sign up for emergency alerts so that during a disaster or emergency, you receive immediate life-saving information from your state and local municipality and are prepared to act fast.

Prepared youth make for a more prepared community

Children younger than 18 make up nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population. We have a lot to learn from our youth, and they from us, so let’s work together across ages and generations to get better prepared. Disasters affect everyone, and it’s important to include our youth in preparing for them; children who are prepared may experience less anxiety. Talk with young people about the types of disasters that can happen and include them in family emergency planning.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought emergency planning and response to the forefront of public consciousness. One thing COVID-19 has taught us all is that disasters and emergencies do not wait for a convenient time to happen.

As Americans continue to be affected by the pandemic, they may not be thinking about natural disaster preparedness or even know how best to prepare during this unprecedented time. National Preparedness Month is observed each September and is an opportunity to highlight how to prepare for disasters that could happen at any time. Preparedness starts with everyone knowing their risks so they can take appropriate actions before, during and after a disaster.

Visit Ready.gov for helpful tips and details on how to be prepared during National Preparedness Month and beyond.

CERT Program Coordinator Terri Stewart can be reached at 541-552-2226 or Terri.Stewart@Ashland.or.us.