By Kimberly Phillips, Stakeholder Relations Specialist, FEMA

As we grow older, the one thing we understand is the benefits of being prepared. Think about it…we spend most of our lives preparing to do something. During our youthful days we prepare to go back to school, prepare to enter the workforce, prepare for having a family, etc. As we grow older our preparedness goals change, but are still ever present. Now, we’re preparing for life after kids, retirement, traveling… and the list goes on and on. So, why should preparing for an emergency or disaster be any different?

Whether you live alone or with family, preparing for an emergency is not as complex or time consuming as you may think. It can be a pretty easy task and amazingly, you probably have most of things needed to build a preparedness kit in your home already. So, what better time to start building a preparedness kit than during National Preparedness Month (NPM). NPM is during the month of September and encourages people to build a kit, make a plan and be informed about the types of emergencies or disasters that occur in your area.

The basic supply kit consists of water (extra if you have a pet), food, flashlights, a first aid kit, extra batteries and garbage bags with ties for personal sanitation. Again, these are things that most of us keep on hand. The most critical part of building these kits is to make sure all of these items are stored in a central place and easy to access when an emergency or disaster occurs, because disasters can interrupt everyday conveniences such as power. That’s why it’s a good idea to build a kit in advance.

Now that we have built our kit, the next step is to build a plan…and who better to build a plan than you. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared. Your plan should include emergency contacts (numbers of family and friends), evacuation routes, fire safety and contact information for local emergency management offices.

The last part of being prepared is staying informed.  So, listen to your local weather reports, have a weather radio and download preparedness apps on your mobile phone.  That way you will always be informed about the type of emergencies, severe weather or disasters that affect your area. 

Remember, you’re never too young or old to be prepared. Visit http://www.ready.gov/ to learn more.

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