Our nation had a big wake up call on September 11, 2001, when terrorists flew hijacked airplanes into the two largest office buildings in New York City. Another one came in August 2005 in the form of Hurricane Katrina.We learned that we are not as “safe” as we assumed and that government organizations as well as individuals had a big knowledge gap on how to handle disasters. Many organizations were commended for their performance during both of these as well as other subsequent disasters. People found, however, that their survival hinged upon their own abilities and level of preparation. Super heroes were not available to fly in to save the day, at least not for everyone.
National Preparedness month, begun in 2004, is a part of a governmental effort to encourage Americans to prepare to take care of themselves during emergencies in whatever form or place they might occur. September was chosen for Preparedness Month, as a reminder of the September 11th tragedy.
As of 2009, the Citizen Corps National Survey revealed that only 57% of Americans indicated that they had emergency supplies set aside in their home in case of a disaster. Only 44% have a household emergency plan.
FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is responsible for the distribution of emergency preparation information through their website Ready.gov. This year everyone is encouraged to visit the site and download a list of items to add to your emergency kit. There’s even a section on the site for kids: www.ready.gov/kids filled with games and easy to understand facts and tips helping families know that everyone needs to be involved in preparing for a disaster.
Design your family’s emergency plan. If we expect the government to provide everything for everyone, we may be waiting for a long time. You
will be your own fire department, doctor, and security department. Let the unit commander inside you come to life. Your family is worth it.
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson