National Preparedness Month: Don’t Wait. Communicate.

shutterstock_209851783The recent Northern California wildfires may have you thinking about what you would do in case of an emergency. Are you prepared to evacuate if necessary? Do you have a plan for you, your family and your pets?

September is National Preparedness Month and it’s the perfect time to plan for an emergency situation.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends the following:

Make a disaster kit: Create a disaster kit that includes food, water, and medications in sufficient quantities to last for at least 72 hours.

Make a plan: Create a plan to communicate with your family in case of an emergency. Have important contact information that includes phone numbers, email address and medical information.

Pick a meeting location: When you identify a meeting location for your family, decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite in case you are separated.

  • Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access and functional needs.
  • If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations.

Examples of meeting places:

  • In your neighborhood: A mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor’s house.
  • Outside of your neighborhood: A library, community center, place of worship, or family friend’s home.
  • Outside of your town or city: A home of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there.

Practice: Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans, communication plans, and meeting place after a disaster. Then, practice just as you would for a fire drill.

Use the FEMA App: FEMA has a free mobile app for Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices available in English and Spanish that offers:

  • Tips on surviving disasters, and ways to customize your emergency checklist and save meeting locations.
  • Receive alerts form the National Weather Service.
  • Locate open shelters and Disaster Recovery Centers.
  • Upload and share your disaster photos.
  • Stay connected on social media and to the FEMA blog.
  • Go to

For more information about disaster preparedness, visit

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