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National Preparedness Month (NPM) is recognized each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. The theme this year was “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”
While this may be the last week of National Preparedness Month, being prepared is a continual process and doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start with a simple conversation at the dinner table with your loved ones or taking a few minutes to register for local emergency notifications.
Below are some simple ideas to help you and your loved ones be better prepared.
Make a Plan
Take time to talk with your family, friends or household about:
- Which types of disasters could affect your area;
- How you will receive emergency alerts and warnings;
- Where you will go if you are told to evacuate by public safety officials;
- Your evacuation routes;
- Your emergency contacts and your communication plan.
- While developing your plan, make sure you think about the specific needs of everyone in your household. Don’t forget to include your pets, service animals and/or large animals!
- Update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations due to the coronavirus.
- Finally, don’t forget to practice your plan with your family or household often!
Build a Kit
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means gathering enough food, water and other supplies in advance. An emergency kit is a collection of these and other essential items that your household may need in an emergency. The good news is many of these items may already be in your home!
- Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the recommended items in FEMA’s Emergency Supply list. Look through your home to see if you already have these items or bring a copy of the list with you to the store.
- Your kit should be in easy to move container or bag, in a location that is easy to remember.
- Include one gallon of drinking water per person per day for several days, and at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods.
- Consider the unique needs of your household. Include critical supplies for loved ones with disabilities, older adults, or infants and young children.
- The CDC recommends that people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu. Examples are masks (for everyone ages two and above), soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces.
- To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.
- Don't forget to prepare your car for emergencies.
Having the right information during an emergency or a power outage is critical. Make sure you’re informed:
- Sign up to receive Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) notifications and other SDG&E outage updates at sdge.com/notifications
- Learn more about local hazards, how to prepare for them and how to sign up to get local emergency notifications at readysandiego.org
- To stay further informed, it also helps to know more about different alerts and warnings and how to get them.
Being prepared for is a year-round practice. By doing small things now, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones resilient and safe, no matter what might come your way.