National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and held annually in September, is a good reminder that natural and man-made disasters can strike at any time. It's important to have a planned response when you're at work, on vacation or on the road.
In 2020, 60,714 weather-related events resulted in 585 deaths and 1,708 injuries. Winter weather, tornadoes and floods resulted in the most deaths that year, according to Injury Facts.
Federal agencies, like Ready.gov and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also are valuable resources for emergency preparedness. When you face a natural or man-made emergency, try to stay informed through radio, TV or the Internet. In some cases, however, cable, electric and cell phone service will be disabled, making communication nearly impossible. The National Safety Council recommends the following general precautions that apply to many disaster situations:
- Make sure at least one family member knows first aid and CPR
- Download the FEMA app for resources, weather alerts and safety tips
- Have a family communication plan in place; all members of the family should review and practice the plan
- Have all family members' and other important phone numbers written down or memorized
- Have an emergency kit in your car and at least three days of food and water at home
- Be sure to store all important documents – birth certificates, insurance policies, etc. – in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box
- Know how to shut off utilities