HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Each September, a nationwide effort is made to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools. During National Preparedness Month, federal, state, and local governments, as well as non-profit organizations and voluntary agencies implement information tools to educate the public about the importance of individual and family preparedness.
A recent survey conducted by The Ad Council found that 91 percent of respondents said it was very important or somewhat important for all Americans to be prepared for emergencies, but only half of respondents said they had an emergency supply kit. During the 2006 National Preparedness Month, over 1,000 national, regional, and local organizations will be working to ensure that 100 percent of Americans are ready.
With the threat of flooding from possible hurricanes and storms during the remainder of this hurricane season, residents should take this time to form a plan and make sure they are prepared for future emergency and disaster situations. There are multiple resources available to individuals, families and businesses from federal and state agencies. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) provides preparedness information online at www.pema.state.pa.us and www.paflooding.state.pa.us. The PEMA web sites provide updated local disaster news, links to local, state, and federal Internet resources, and printable preparedness guides for your family or business.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed the web site www.ready.gov. The Ready web site provides helpful information about disaster preparedness. It is a valuable resource that places the tools and knowledge in a central location, accessible to all Americans. Residents without Internet access can call 1-800-BE-READY (237-3239).
National Preparedness Month is a great opportunity to get your whole family and community involved. DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have free brochures and booklets available that cover different aspects of disaster preparedness. Some of these materials can be printed from the www.fema.gov web site. You can also order free copies of the materials by calling 1-800-480-2520. There are several materials to choose from that give detailed information about how to prepare for emergencies. Below are two publications that give thorough information and can help you on your path to preparedness:
IS-22 Are You Ready: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Preparing Makes Sense: Get Ready Now
Get your kids involved in your preparation. DHS and FEMA have both developed children-specific websites to help teach children of all ages about being ready, by using games, age-specific activity guides, and other school or family activities. On DHS's www.ready.gov/kids, you can follow Rex the Mountain Lion and his family as they prepare themselves and their friends for disasters. FEMA's www.fema.gov/kids has games and activities, and kids can read about the experiences of other children that have been affected by disasters. Both websites have links and resources for parents and teachers, including printed materials that can be used at home or in schools.
Encourage your kids to take information to school, or volunteer your time at the school, your community center, or a civic club to do a short presentation about preparedness that can help your community. A valuable resource that can help you reach out to your neighbors is Citizen Corps. Citizen Corps hel...