September is National Preparedness Month, which makes it the perfect time to follow through on the three important steps – Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed – individuals and families should take to be Red Cross Ready when disaster strikes.
But what if you jumped on board the preparedness bandwagon last fall? What if you read and followed through on getting a kit, making a plan, and becoming informed, and as a result, crossed these important tasks off of your to-do list last September, October, and November?
Yes, National Preparedness Month prompts us to get the ball rolling, to learn more about the disasters most commonly seen in our region of the country, and to take basic steps to better prepare ourselves and our families for emergencies of all kinds.
But National Preparedness Month also provides a perfect opportunity to recommit to personal, family, and community safety by assessing and updating our kits, plans, and emergency preparedness knowledge.
First up, your kit.
- It sounds silly, but start by finding your kit! Perhaps you’ve moved in the last 12 months and your kit hasn’t yet been unpacked. Or maybe you just can’t remember which shelf you stored it on or whether it’s in the attic or the garage. Establish and show everyone in your family where your kit will live.
- Check the contents of your kit. Add or remove supplies – batteries, first aid supplies, sanitation and personal hygiene items – as needed.
- Toss any expired nonperishable food items and expired or no longer needed medications, and restock the kit with new nonperishable food items and current medications.
- Update personal documents and emergency contact information.
Next up, your plan.
- Review your plan to verify that the information included – meeting locations, gas/water/electric company phone numbers, emergency contact information – is still accurate. If the information isn’t up-to-date, make the necessary changes and print off a new copy of your plan.
- With your entire family, practice your plan. Twice!
And lastly, your knowledge base.
- Review the types of disasters and emergencies most common in your region of the country, the differences between different weather alerts, and how to correctly use the tools at your disposal – social media, local radio and television, weather radio – to stay informed in the event of an emergency.
- Renew your CPR, first aid, and AED certifications.
There you have it, folks – all of the resources you’ll need to call yourself prepared, whether this is your first or 50th National Preparedness Month.