September is Disaster Preparedness Month

September 2013, marks the tenth annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the US Department of Homeland Security. One goal of Homeland Security is to educate the public about how to prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters, mass casualties, biological and chemical threats, radiation emergencies, and terrorist attacks.

Would you be ready if there were an emergency? Would your library? Be prepared: assemble an emergency supply kit, make your emergency plans, stay informed, and get involved in helping your family, your library, and your community be ready for emergencies.

During September, emergency preparedness will focus on:

  • Home and family preparedness, including pets, older Americans, and individuals with disabilities and special needs
  • Back-to-school
  • Business preparedness

The following resources can help you.

In collaboration with the American Red Cross, the CDC's website (http://emergency.cdc.gov/ on Emergency Preparedness and You identifies and answers common questions about preparing for unexpected events, including:

  • Developing a family disaster plan
  • Gathering emergency supplies
  • Learning how to shelter in place
  • Understanding quarantine and isolation
  • Learning how to maintain a healthy state of mind                                                        

You will also find additional information and resources under topics such as hurricane preparedness, extreme heat, and bioterrorism. CDC continually updates information on recent outbreaks and incidents, and lists emergency resources for the general public as well as for clinicians and public health professionals.

FEMA & Homeland Security promotes emergency preparedness all year round via the Ready America campaign. Checklists, brochures, and a toolkit with templates and drafts of newsletter articles, blogs, posters, and other collateral materials are available in English and in Spanish  by phone (1-800-BE-READY and 1-888-SE-LISTO), or at the Ready.gov website.

Get an Emergency Kit

If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. By taking time now to prepare emergency water supplies, food supplies and a disaster supplies kit, you can provide for your entire family.

Review the items recommended for a disaster supplies kit or print the Homeland Security Emergency Supply checklist.

Make an Emergency Plan

Make plans with your family and friends in case you're not together during an emergency. Discuss how you'll contact each other, where you'll meet, and what you'll do in different situations. Read how to develop a family disaster plan or fill out the Homeland Security Family Emergency Plan.

Ask about planning at your workplace and your child's school or daycare center. The US Department of Education gives guidelines for school preparedness. Workers at small, medium, and large businesses should practice for emergencies of all kinds. See Ready Business for more information.

Be Informed

Being prepared means staying informed. Check all types of media – Web sites, newspapers, radio, TV, mobile and land phones – for global, national and local information. During an emergency, your local Emergency Management or Emergency Services office will give you information on such things as open shelters and evacuation orders. Check Ready Americacommunity and state information to learn about resources in your community.

Get Involved

Look into taking first aid and emergency response training, participating in community exercises, and volunteering to support local first responders. Contact Citizens Corps, which coordinates activities to make communities safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to an emergency situation.

One Stop Shop

Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster can be overwhelming. This is your One Stop Shop for disaster recovery efforts for librarians, businesses, and the general public.