One excellent resource to inform you and your family is the U.S. government’s official preparedness website, Ready.gov. This year’s campaign theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.” Start by making a plan before disasters and emergencies strike.
Throughout September, the National Preparedness Month campaign focuses on four different aspects of preparedness. This year’s four areas include making a plan, building a kit, preparing for disasters and teaching our youth about preparedness.
Make a plan: Talk to friends and family about communication during and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations due to the coronavirus.
Build a kit: Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider unique needs and pets. Update your kits and supplies based on CDC recommendations.
Prepare for disasters: Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risks in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in storms and from other common hazards. Prepare to act quickly if you receive a local warning or alert.
Teach youth about preparedness: Talk to children about preparing for emergencies and what to do if you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.
Sailors and Marines are urged to involve their entire families in planning for disasters and emergencies, so they too are prepared, not afraid. One recommendation is to include your child’s favorite stuffed animals, board games, books or music in their emergency kit to comfort them in a disaster. One fun way to involve children in the planning is to go on a scavenger hunt around the home, allowing them to check off the items on hand to be added to emergency kits.
"Military families can be stationed worldwide and may not always have family nearby when an emergency or disaster occurs," said NAVSAFECEN Command Master Chief (CMDCM) Jimmy Hailey. "As service members, we must plan to ensure the safety, well-being and resilience of our loved ones should an emergency occur."
Emergency kits are crucial in a plan and there are a few considerations one should make when building theirs. You can create or update your emergency supplies with the list provided at www.ready.gov/kit. Make sure your kit is ready to go in case you need to evacuate. Include enough food and water to last several days, medication (at least three days’ supply), face masks, disinfectant and pet supplies. If there is a person with disabilities, items they use daily, as well as life-sustaining items, must be considered.
"Being a husband and father while in the Navy, I all too well know about the unpredictability of what we sometimes do," said Hailey. "I want to do everything in my power to ensure my family has all the essentials and support they need if I can't be there."
According to the Ready.gov website, many emergencies and disasters occur without any warning. Since you can’t predict disasters, it is essential to have plans and supplies for the places you and your household are at regularly. Sailors and Marines know the importance of drills for operational readiness and the same applies to disaster planning; families too should practice emergency drills regularly. All these efforts should help keep you and your loved ones safe and ready for whatever disaster or emergency pops up unexpectedly.
"We always train like we fight, naval units and their personnel stay in a state of readiness so they can deploy or mobilize where needed,” said Hailey. "Nobody wants to think about worst-case scenarios; however, good planning for yourself and those around you can give peace of mind."
For more information or questions about preparing for disasters and emergencies, visit Ready.gov.
Jeffrey Jones, 757-444-3520, ext. 7243, firstname.lastname@example.org
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