Plan Ahead-National Preparedness Month
FRESNO – In the waning days of summer, the nation has seen two major hurricanes douse the southern parts of the country with water, leaving countless families stranded without a home. Luckily many residents of the southern states survived the storms, while others weren’t as lucky placing even more emphasis on how it pays to be prepared which is the national theme this September.
National Preparedness Month is part of a governmental effort to strengthen the United States’ preparedness capabilities, whether a terrorist attack strikes, or a natural disaster hits.
According to a 2013 American Housing survey provided by the U.S Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, roughly 30 percent of respondents have an emergency meeting location and communication plan in place, while 51.5 percent have an emergency evacuation kit ready. When it comes to finances, only 69.8 percent have enough emergency funds to cover $2,000 in expenses, while 76.8 percent have access to their financial information.
The goal of National Preparedness Month is to make everyone in the United States 100 percent prepared for any type of disaster.
Better Business Bureau Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties is proud to partner with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security (Ready.gov) to offer tips on how to fully prepare for disaster.
Make a plan for yourself, family and friends
You and your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, which is why you need a plan.
Start by putting together a plan and discuss with your family or friends how you will receive emergency alerts. What is your shelter plan? How you will evacuate? Where you will all meet up? And what is the communication plan.
Be sure you tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss how you can assist each other when it comes to dietary needs, pets or service animals, disabilities or access to functional needs including devices and equipment, medical needs such as prescriptions, how to shut off utilities such as gas and electric, and who’s responsible for what.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start by printing and filling out a family emergency plan through FEMA.gov.
Plan to help your neighbors and community
One of the best ways to help yourself, and others, is to learn the skills necessary to take action when disaster strikes.
Life-threatening emergencies can happen fast, and emergency responders may not be able to get there in time. By taking simple actions immediately, you may be able to save a life.
According to a recent National Academies of Science study, trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans under 46. A life-threatening injury requires immediate action, and those who are nearest to someone with a life-threatening injury are best positioned to provide first care until help arrives.
This can be done by completing a FEMA web-based training titled Until Help Arrives.
Practice and build out your plans
Once a disaster strikes, the last thing you want to do is stress out because you can’t locate all of your personal information. Having access to personal, financial, medical, insurance and other records is crucial for starting the recovery process.
By making a financial emergency preparedness plan, you won’t have to wait until after a disaster strikes to start locating these items.
Gather all of your financial and critical personal, household and medical information. Start putting money away into an emergency savings account, and keep a small amount of cash on you just in case the ATM’s and credit cards stop working during a disaster.
Review your existing homeowners or renter’s insurance policy for the amount, and extent of coverage, to ensure you have what is required for all possible hazards.
If you still aren’t sure where to begin, download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit through FEMA.gov, and start today.
Get involved! Be a part of something larger.
After preparing yourself and your neighborhood, take your knowledge to businesses, campuses and faith based organizations. BBB recommends you talk to them about the importance of having a plan in place, volunteer to help them create their own plan tailored to their specific needs, and sign local businesses up for a “Ready Business Workshop” through Ready.gov.
Ready business workshops assist businesses in developing a preparedness program by providing the tools necessary to create a plan that addresses the impact of many hazards.
For more tips and information, visit bbb.org/ccie and ready.gov.