September is Disaster Preparedness Month. And from making sure your house is in order, to helping neighbors, friends and your entire community, here are some of the ways you can make a difference.
Learn CPR and First Aid
Basic CPR and first aid skills can make a difference between life and death in a disaster. The Red Cross offers CPR Certification courses around the country, in addition to first aid training and many other life-saving classes.
Make a kit
FEMA recommends that having enough food, water and supplies for every person in your household to last for 72 hours. You can learn how to build an emergency kit here, and then make sure your family, neighbors and friends have them too. This checklist in English and Spanish is a great resource as well.
Make a plan
Do you know how to receive alerts in the event of an emergency? Do you have a shelter plan, evacuation route and household or family communication plan? A strong emergency plan keeps everyone on the same page, and you can find a step-by-step guide to creating one here. And be sure to stay alert for fraud and scams!
Stay prepared all year round
Disasters don’t always announce their arrival, but you can take steps to stay prepared throughout the year, including knowing how and where to shut off your water, electricity and gas, and having a neighborhood contact for when you leave town. Preparation strategies for caregivers are essential as well, including financial and legal preparedness and communication plans.
Volunteer to make a difference
Join a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and learn basic safety and emergency skills. You can also hold a preparedness event in your community or start a community-based, youth preparedness program. If you have more time and are willing to travel, you can take an active role as a volunteer by teaming up with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. And if you’d like to bridge the gap between disaster and disaster response, you can simply learn to be the help before help arrives.