National preparedness month 2020

September Is National Preparedness Month

The Greene County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) wants to encourage each resident and family in Greene County to utilize the month of September to prepare for emergency and disaster situations.  September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and there are many actions you can take to prepare for an emergency. The theme this year is “Disasters Don’t Wait, Make Your Plan Today”.

Greene County residents can face a wide array of disasters and emergencies.  COVID-19 has proven that it is difficult to predict the range of issues we can face.  We are particularly vulnerable to weather-related events and emergencies.  As this is being written multiple Tropical Storms, which may become hurricanes, are headed toward the Gulf coast of the United States.  These storms may or may not impact our area in the coming days.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designates September each year as National Preparedness Month to highlight the steps citizens can take to prepare for a wide range of disasters we might face.  Your continued preparations for COVID-19 is a great start.  However, remember we may face other events in the coming months such as the annual flu, snow, ice, flooding and high wind.  It is critical we not let our guard down and continue to prepare for these other situations.

FEMA designates each week of the month for a specific action to assist with preparedness. By going to the FEMA website you can review and print material to help you prepare for the various situations we might face (www.ready.gov/september). The County website also has a link to this FEMA resource and can easily be accessed.

Week one — Make a Plan for your family.  Discuss with friends and family how you will communicate with each other before, during, and after a disaster.  Include in your plan how to comply with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance on COVID-19.  The CDC guidance can be located at www.cdc.gov.

Week two — Build a Kit of supplies to support your family during a disaster.  As mentioned, you may already have started building the kit as COVID-19 overtook the U.S. but updating and replenishing items may need to be done.  Be sure to consider special needs of children, the elderly, those on special medications, etc.  The kit should support the family both at home or, if you need to evacuate, when you arrive at a friend’s home or a shelter.  Remember to include hand sanitizer, masks, and other items recommended by the CDC.

Week three — Prepare for Disasters at your home.  Whether a house, apartment, or mobile home, there are steps you can take to better secure your home from the impacts of wind, water, snow and ice.  Information on receiving alerts to approaching severe weather is provided along with facility hardening protective measures you can take.

Finally, week four — Teach Youth About Preparedness. While young people are very resilient, emergencies and disasters can be very scary to many.  The FEMA site provides materials to assist you in discussing with your children about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. You can reassure them by providing information and ways for them to get involved.

The Greene County CERT group has as its mission to assist county residents to be prepared for an emergency or disaster situation.  Our website (www.greenecert.org) also has links to the National Preparedness Month materials.  We encourage every resident to make your plan today because Disasters Don’t Wait!

  Steve Bowman, Greene County CERT Facilitator