National Preparedness Month’s theme is ‘Prepared, Not Scared. Be Ready for Disasters.’ Here are tips to help you be prepared.

Because emergencies and disasters can happen without notice, the stateDepartment for Public Health is offering tips on how to always be prepared in a campaign called “Prepared, Not Scared. Be Ready for Disasters” during National Preparedness Month, which falls in September.

“Emergencies and disasters can happen anytime and anywhere, often without notice and can leave us scared and confused,” Jim House, manager of the department’s preparedness branch, said in a news release. “By taking the time to follow the ten steps outlined below, we all can better prepare ourselves and our communities should emergencies or disasters strike.” The state campaign encourages households, businesses and organizations to take the following 10 steps to prepare for a disaster:

  • Assemble a “Go Bag” packed with essential items to have in the event of an emergency evacuation of your home. Go to ready.gov/build-a-kit for a list of what to put in a go-bag.
  • Prepare digital forms of important documents for an emergency, including your ID and passport. You could also make copies of these documents and put them in a waterproof pouch or zip-lock bag.
  • Have extra supplies in case of an emergency.
  • Download the Federal Emergency Management Agency app (https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app) to provide emergency information about disaster resources, weather alerts and safety tips.
  • Have an alternative power source for devices during emergencies.
  • Set up an In Case of Emergency (ICE) emergency contact in your cell phone.
  • Choose an emergency contact when out of town.
  • Find a local, pet-friendly evacuation center.
  • Update your social media to tell loved ones you are safe during an emergency.
  • Text, don’t call, in an emergency. Phone lines will be clogged with calls reporting important information.
FEMA also offers a wealth of information to help people prepare for a disaster, including a “Family Emergency Communication Plan” form. FEMA suggests keeping some cash on hand in case of emergencies, since ATMs and credit card readers won’t always be available; small bills are best.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention graphic; click it to enlarge

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventionoffers tips to address health needs during a disaster, including: gathering enough food, water and medical supplies to last at least 72 hours; preparing a seven- to 10-day supply of prescription medications; making copies of important documents and medical records, including an up-to-date list of all prescription drugs for each person in the household, with dosage and a list of each person’s known allergies; and learning life-saving skills, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to use until help arrives.

In addition, don’t forget to prepare for pets’ needs, including making sure they wear their collars and tags with up-to-date information or are microchipped to increase the chances that you will be reunited if you are separated.
And most importantly, make sure everyone, including children, knows what the disaster plan is since you might not be together when the disaster happens. The CDC offers “Ready Wrigley,” a children’s activity book series, to help parents talk to children about disasters.

“Remember that preparedness is a shared responsibility – it takes a whole community to prepare and respond to emergencies,” said House.

National Preparedness Month was started after Sept. 11 and is organized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. For more information about preparing for and responding to emergencies, visit http://www.ready.gov.