Every September, the Department of Homeland Security promotes National Preparedness Month, an opportunity for local leaders and residents to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. This year, the theme is “Prepared, Not Scared,” with weekly themes focused on saving for disasters, making a plan with family and loved ones, teaching youth to prepare for disasters, and getting involved in your community’s preparedness.
The Department of Homeland Security’s resource website, Ready.gov, includes links to further resources and social media posts that local governments can share with residents. Some of the resources for youth preparedness include a Sesame Street Fire Safety Program for preschool children and a youth preparedness toolkit that includes a disaster preparedness activity book.
Notably, this year’s themes include resources for residents to get involved in their community’s preparedness efforts. Community members can train as volunteers with their local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), or they can visit Nvoad.org to see which local organizations are active during disasters.
Informal ways of connecting with others also serve an essential function in emergency preparedness. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) places tremendous value on communities that embrace a local “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” approach. The Neighbors Helping Neighbors approach seeks to support state, tribe, and local agencies, civic organizations, faith-based groups, and other community organizations to empower community leaders to involve and educate individuals from their community about simple steps one can take to be more prepared.
More tools for community leaders can be found here, including a comprehensive Program Leaders Guide and an Independent Study Course for those just starting a neighborhood preparedness effort.