Record-setting storms and wildfires occurring in some states recently, shed light on the fact that severe weather can happen anytime, and anywhere in the country.
Taking this into account, National Preparedness Month – observed each September – encourages Americans to take steps to be prepared for disasters in their homes, places of work, schools and communities.
Know your alerts
You may be familiar with alerts you receive on your cellphone when there is inclement weather in your location. These automatic alerts are organized by FEMA using the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).
IPAWS is a national system for local alerting that provides emergency and life-saving information to the public. Types of alerts include:
- Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are notifications sent to cellphones and mobile devices that look like text messages. These messages are free to receive and are not they affected by network congestion. Types of messages include – Presidential, AMBER, and Imminent Threat.
- Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system used by alerting authorities to send warnings to broadcasters, satellite digital audio services, direct broadcast satellite providers, cable TV and wireless cable systems. The President has sole responsibility for determining when the EAS will be activated.
Many jurisdictions have opt-in public alert and warning systems. An opt-in system means you must sign up to receive the alert. This will allow officials in your area to send you a text or email about local emergencies. To find out what alerts are available in your area, do an internet search of your town, city or county name with the word “alerts”. You can also go to the website of your local emergency management or public safety office.
Make a plan
- How will you receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is your shelter plan?
- What is your evacuation route?
- What is your family household communication plan?
- Do you need to update your emergency preparedness kit?
- Check with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and update your emergency plans due to Coronavirus
Build a kit
There are times in a disaster when significant damage is caused, leaving you without accessible food or water. Having a disaster kit will help you survive until local authorities can provide aid or get services functioning again. Aside from food and water, there are many other essential household items you might want to consider keeping in your Basic Disaster Supplies Kit.
A disaster is an event that causes disruption to daily living. Take your location into consideration and think of possible disasters that you may encounter and make a plan. Disasters include but are not limited to the following:
• Civil Unrest
• Hazardous material spills
• Power Failure
• Heat Wave