Disaster Preparedness • Economic Recovery • Resilience

The 2018 National Preparedness Month is here

This year’s National Preparedness Month continues a tradition begun in 2004. FEMA’s resources devoted to NPM are now more extensive than ever, including a wealth of information on preparing for and dealing with disasters, extensive social media links, and a parallel website in Spanish.

Since 2004, FEMA has declared September as National Preparedness Month. The website dedicated to this, https://www.ready.gov, has evolved from a relatively simple resource for planning for disasters into an elaborate multimedia platform. Viewers are now also able to follow National Preparedness Month on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. There is even a version of ready.gov in Spanish, Listo.

The website dedicated to this year’s National Preparedness Month, https://www.ready.gov/september, provides a wealth of information, including a link to its Be Informed webpage. Links from this page covers a wide variety of disaster events, including active shooter, bioterrorism, drought, earthquakes, extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, nuclear explosions, pandemics, tornadoes, volcanoes, and wildfires.  In a separate video, FEMA elaborates on Important things to Know Before a Disaster.

The https://www.ready.gov/september website focuses on a separate theme for each week of the month of September. For Week 1 (September 1-8) the theme is “Make and Practice Your Plan;” for Week 2 (September 9-15), “Learn Live Saving Skills;” Week 3 (September 16-22), “Check Your Coverage”; and Week 4 (23-30), “Save for an Emergency”.

September 15 is designated as a National Day of Action. Organizations can become a National Preparedness Month Coalition members. Members can sponsor events, coordinate their own disaster preparedness days and disaster checklists, and assist in putting together emergency and survival kits.

FEMA has also made available a wealth of information in what it calls a National Preparedness Resource Library. A particularly useful document is the National Preparedness Report, which “identifies cross-cutting findings that evaluate core capability performance, key findings in the Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery mission areas, and notable examples of preparedness progress over the past five years.”

There is clearly a need for National Preparedness Month. In a detailed analysis, the Census Bureau found that less than a fifth of Americans have a generator (only 18.3% said yes), a communications plan (33.0%), or an emergency meeting location (37.4%). Americans were somewhat more prepared in other areas: emergency evacuation kit (51.5%), an emergency water supply (54.3%), evacuation funds, defined as resources to meet at least $2,000 in expenses (69.8%), access to financial information (76.8%), nonperishable emergency food, defined as enough food to sustain a household for three days (82.0%), and an evacuation vehicle, defined as a “vehicle that is reliable and able to a carry all household members, pets, and supplies up to 50 miles away” (88.6%).

On August 31, in Presidential Proclamation No. 18-241, President Donald J. Trump declared September to be National Preparedness Month.