At HHS, they work every day to keep the American people safe from health threats. But they need your help. This September, they need you to take action.
September is National Preparedness Month, and they are asking Americans around the country to take the first steps to being prepared. That’s why the HHS motto this month is, “Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.”
Here are four ways you can prepare right now:
There’s no shortage of information and good ideas on how to prepare in the case of a disaster. Find out what evacuation routes are near you, how your community broadcasts emergency information and what emergency plans exist in places you and your family frequently spend time. Learn how other people and their families are preparing, and share your own thoughts.
Make a Plan
Once you’ve gathered some information, it’s time to put it to use. Make a plan for you and your family, and make sure you all can connect in case of an emergency. Test your plan with some questions, like:
- Who’s counting on me, and who can I count on?
- Where should we all meet?
- Who could I contact to check in, especially someone far from the area of an emergency?
- Does anyone I know depend on electrically-powered medical equipment? Do we have a fully-charged back-up battery?
- If I get regular care for a chronic health condition, where could I go if the facility nearby closes?
A thorough plan could save your life and the lives of your loved ones. You don’t have to build it alone. Visit the National Library of Medicine to find free mobile apps that can help.
Build a Kit
What essential supplies would you and your family need for at least three days? You should buy those items now and start assembling your disaster supplies kit.
Start with fresh water, food and a battery-powered or hand crank radio. You can find many more ideas at Ready.gov/kit.
Preparedness shouldn’t be scary. It can give you some peace of mind, and you can even get the whole family involved. Ask your children to share ideas for items to include in the kit, and you can even start a scavenger hunt to shop for the supplies. Our Ready Wrigley activity series can help get the conversation started.
Finally, always remember the value of a community in an emergency. Reach out to your neighbors and friends and develop plans to keep everyone safe. Ready.gov/get-involved has suggestions for how you can help in your area.
Our strength as a nation has always been our ability to come together to solve major challenges.
That’s why HHS is getting together America’s PrepareAthon!, the National Day of Action, to practice. Gather with family, friends and neighbors in your place of worship, community center or your business, and put your emergency plan to the test. Prove that you’re ready by registering as part of
You can also join them for a Thunderclap for the PrepareAthon’s National Day of Action, which will go live on , and you can join the conversation in a Twitter Chat on . Just use the hashtag #CDCprep.
This National Preparedness Month, take the first steps. Together we can make sure our families and our communities are resilient in the face of whatever comes our way.
Sylvia M. Burwell