The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established National Preparedness Month (NPM) in 2004 to remind Americans of the importance of being prepared for an emergency in their home, business, school, or community.
The tragedy of 9/11 highlighted the need for better emergency management and preparation. The decision to make September the NPM is partly to honor the memory of this tragic event, but also because September represents the height of the Atlantic hurricane season and the end of an increasingly active fire season in the U.S.
FEMA manages disaster preparedness in the U.S. based on five foundational objectives—prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery—and 32 distinct core capabilities that hinge on effective planning, informing and warning the public, and having a coordinated operational response to emergencies. The 2015 update of the National Preparedness Goal explains these objectives and capabilities in detail.
The primary goal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is
“[A] secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”
Several agencies and organizations provide resources for preparing your family and community for an emergency. Some of these include:
- FEMA and the Ready Campaign: focal agencies for information and resources on disaster preparedness; Preparedness Portal for connecting operations and resources; national preparedness workshops.
- Red Cross: step-by-step instructions for developing a ‘Family Game Plan’; resources for teaching children about disaster preparedness.
- Environmental Protection Agency: information regarding environmental disasters and emergencies; reporting an emergency; protecting your family from toxic exposures.
- National Weather Service: information on receiving alerts; types of natural disasters; information on hazardous weather events.
- Center for Disease Control: preparing for a pandemic; public health.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: protecting your children in an emergency.
HSDL featured topics include cyber protection, emergency preparedness, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks–all of which underscore the need for emergency planning at the individual and community level.
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Some links in this article require CHDS access, click here for direct access to the National Preparedness Goals.