September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), proclaimed in an effort to increase preparedness in the U.S. It is a time to prepare yourself, those in your care, and your community for an unexpected emergency. Preparedness is a shared responsibility.
NPM focuses on turning awareness into action by encouraging individuals to make an emergency preparedness plan for their homes, businesses, and community. You can get involved by:
Non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGO) will host projects (www.HandsOnNetwork.org) and service opportunities (www.911dayofservice.org) across the country. Participate in a service event and encourage your family and your neighbors to join you. You can also contact National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for local disaster preparedness and response service opportunities.
Preparedness events that will be hosted throughout NPM will be posted at Ready.gov and additional events in your community can be easily searched on serve.gov. Visit your local firehouse to learn more about preparedness in your community.
Citizen Corps connects citizens with government and civic leaders, NGOs, and other community-based programs. Join a Citizen Corps Council and support emergency planning, training and exercises, and participate in volunteer opportunities that enhance community safety. Visit www.CitizenCorps.gov to find local Citizen Corps Councils in your community.
Local chapters of national organizations, as well as local fire, police, and other first responders can always use a hand. Look for ways to become involved and pitch in with your community, not just in September, but throughout the year as well.
Get involved with your local chapter of the American Red Cross
Join USAonWatch (Neighborhood Watch) groups and work with local law enforcement to help prevent crime and terrorism in your neighborhood
Train with Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), which support first responders
Participate in Fire Corps programs and assist with administrative duties at your local fire station
Give your time to Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) programs, conduct traffic control, crowd control, and other duties that support local law enforcement
Volunteer with medical and public health professionals through the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
We further encourage residents and businesses to learn about local and regional hazards. The State of California provides a free, easy-to-use MyHazards website, that allows individuals to explore hazards and appropriate preparedness actions for their location. Tulare County has also published Disaster Preparedness Guides to assist with your planning and preparedness efforts.
Tulare County encourages residents and businesses to consider their hazards when making, exercising, and maintaining their emergency plans, so that they know what actions to take before, during, and after a disaster. These plans should also incorporate the needs of children, pets, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities, access, and/or functional needs. Many meaningful volunteer opportunities are available for those who are interested in contributing their time, expertise, and/or other resources to helping their community prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impacts of disasters.
Finally, Tulare County asks that residents register their contact information, especially cell phone numbers, with AlertTC, Tulare County’s Emergency Notification System (ENS). Providing one’s contact information is the best way to ensure receipt of time-sensitive, location-based emergency alerts across multiple communications means, including voice, text message, email, fax, smartphone application, and TDD/TTY (for hearing impaired). AlertTC is capable of rapidly delivering large volumes of emergency notifications to these devices, which may contain information critical to reducing injury and loss of life for those in harm’s way.
Ask yourself what you can do to prepare yourself, your neighborhood and your community for disasters. Think through how you can help your neighbors, including older Americans, children and adults with disabilities, and others with access and functional needs.
For more information on National Preparedness Month and for help getting your family, business or community prepared, visit Ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO, and TTY 1-800-462-7585. This September: YOU CAN BE THE HERO.