For 19 years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recognized September as National Preparedness Month, or NPM. Its purpose is to remind everyone in America how important it is for individuals, families, and communities to prepare for disasters and emergencies that can happen at any time. These include natural disasters such as the recent catastrophic wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, and Hurricane Idalia, which just hit northwest Florida as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm, as well as human-caused events such as 9/11.
The theme of NPM 2023, which FEMA promotes through its Ready Campaign, is “Take Control in 1, 2, 3.” It encourages everyone, especially older adults, to prepare for disasters. Specifically, the campaign emphasizes three simple steps to better preparedness:
- Assess your needs
- Make a plan
- Engage your support network
To learn more about this year’s campaign and its focus, a new “Ready” website (available in English and Spanish) is available to emergency managers and all those who work with and support older adult communities. The sites, ready.gov/older-adults and ready.gov/es/adultos-mayores, provide messaging, graphics, and resources to support education and awareness. Additional information on preparing those with disabilities is available at ready.gov/disability or https://www.ready.gov/es/discapacidad.
As a reminder and as written in a previous blog post from BOLDplanning, a division of Agility, better emergency preparedness can be achieved in a number of ways. Among them, get (and stay) familiar with the types of disasters most likely to impact your area by reviewing your state, local, tribal, and/or territorial government’s hazard mitigation plans (these are typically available for download from their respective websites). Also, regularly test and improve emergency/continuity plans (every six months if possible; once per year at a minimum).
Disasters can occur at any moment and with little to no advanced warning. At BOLDplanning, we encourage you to take National Preparedness Month 2023 to reflect on your personal and organizational readiness to “Take control in 1, 2, 3” in any situation. Doing so will expedite emergency response and, ultimately, help ensure resilience.
NPM 2023 culminates on September 30th with National Preparedness Day, the national day of action.