The focus of this year’s National Preparedness Month (NPM) is individual preparedness, very timely in light of FEMA’s August 2009 report: Personal Preparedness in America: Findings from the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey. The report shows that many Americans have unrealistic expectations for emergency personnel and government agencies in the wake of a natural or human-caused disaster. For example, results indicate that 30 percent of Americans have not prepared because they think that emergency responders will help them and more than 60 percent expect to rely on emergency responders in the first 72 hours following a disaster. NPM 2009 hopes to not only encourage individual preparedness such as creating an emergency supply kit and making a family emergency plan, but also getting involved in community efforts such as Citizen Corps to encourage preparedness at a grassroots level.
Many organizations use this month to promote disaster awareness and also to highlight their year-round efforts toward supporting people adversely impacted by a natural or man-made disaster. In 2008, more than 3,260 U.S. organizations signed up to partner with the Ready Campaign as Coalition Members to help educate the public about the importance of emergency preparedness. As a Coalition Member this year, Louisiana State University’s Extension Disaster Education Network has set up a website that offers resources for making plans and becoming involved as an emergency responder. Another Coalition Member, Ice Qube, is offering free emergency planners on their website for families, individuals, babies and pets as well as free annual reminders to help people remember to check on their emergency supplies and a free monthly newsletter with tips and news about emergency preparedness. The American Red Cross is urging Americans to donate blood as part of their preparedness plans.
Additionally, this year marks the first federally-designated National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11. NPM offers Americans a concrete and lasting way to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11 and the servicemen and women protecting our country. By encouraging families and communities to improve preparedness and emergency plans, these efforts will not only save lives but also mitigate the stress put upon first responders in a future disaster.
To view webcasts during National Preparedness Month targeting a variety of communities and business, follow the links on the Citizen Corps’ Community Preparedness Webcasts page.