SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — September is National Preparedness Month, and this year’s overarching theme, according to www.ready.gov, is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”
Each week of the month is dedicated to a specific preparedness-based theme, providing service members and their families the skills needed to remain ready for any emergency scenario that could impact their lives.
The www.ready.gov site states, “the goal of the NPM is to increase the overall number of individuals, families and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, school and place of worship.”
The themes for each week are:
• Week 1: Make a plan for yourself, family and friends.
• Week 2: Plan to help your neighbor and community.
• Week 3: Practice and build your plans.
• Week 4: Get involved! Be a part of something bigger.
During week one, families are encouraged to establish an emergency plan, sign up for alerts and warnings in their area, and learn evacuation zones as well as establish an evacuation route.
“Disasters, both man-made and natural, occur with little to no warning,” said Senior Airman Zachary Clement, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency management journeyman. “When a disaster does happen sometimes you may not be with your family. A game plan can help with communication and avoiding stressful situations.”
The second week is dedicated to assisting neighbors and communities. The information covers the skills needed to assist one’s self and others following natural disasters, and ways to reach out to power companies about utility safety.
Clement also said it is vital to help our neighbors, whether elderly, disabled or young. Additionally, teaming up or pooling resources can help ensure the survival and safety of those affected by natural disasters.
The third week is intended to help families build on the skills gained from the previous weeks.
Through activities such as creating an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, which consists of steps in establishing an emergency savings account and obtaining property, health and life insurance, families can gain the knowledge on community resources that can further enhance their preparedness.
“It is important to build on one’s preparedness, not only to make their life easier but also the lives of our emergency and first responders,” said Tech. Sgt. Chonte Thomas, 20th CES emergency management NCO in charge.
The more people build on these skills and practice them with their families, the less hardship they are likely to encounter during an emergency, said Thomas.
According to www.ready.gov, the final week encourages families to spread their knowledge to their community by “being a part of something bigger.”
Being a part of something bigger, is intended to provide families the opportunity to give back and get involved by sharing acquired preparedness knowledge with friends and loved ones.
Disasters can be unpredictable, but service members and their families can take precautions to plan for these events and increase their knowledge on preparedness.