As September comes to an end so does National Preparedness Month 2021. For weeks, members of the emergency management community have been pushing to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and disasters. But as they know, this initiative cannot end with a simple flip of the calendar, especially given current events.
For starters, the Atlantic Hurricane Season does not officially end until November 30th. And according to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, there’s quite a bit of activity at the moment, i.e., three tropical disturbances and one, soon-to-be-major hurricane, Sam. The path of these storms is still uncertain so everyone along the Atlantic coast should remain aware (and of course, prepared).
As of this writing and according to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are also 64 active, large fires burning in ten U.S. states. Among them are Idaho (20), Montana (11), California (10), Washington (8), Oregon (6), Wyoming (4), Nevada (2), Colorado (1), Minnesota (1), and New Mexico (1). So far, these fires have consumed over 3,140,000 acres, and even more concerning, not a single one of them is presently contained.
In sharp contrast, many locations across the country continue to experience heavy rains and dangerous flash flooding. Just a few weeks ago, New York City faced its first flash flood emergency in history. And in late August, one rural town in Tennessee (Waverly) received over 17 inches of rain in a matter of hours, resulting in epic flooding and the loss of 22 lives, children included.
Complicating matters, the COVID-19 pandemic still plagues the nation (and the world), making response and recovery even more challenging.
So, while September 30th may signal the end of National Preparedness Month 2021 for the emergency management community, it is obviously their (and BOLDplanning’s) hope that the core messages of 1) make a plan, 2) build a kit, 3) prepare for disasters, and 4) teach youth about preparedness, will continue to resonate in the months ahead.