‘Tis the Season of Personal Preparedness

‘Tis the Season of Personal Preparedness

The Emergency Kit Cook-Off encourages the public to exercise the contents of their emergency supplies kit. Just because something is nonperishable doesn't mean it'll last forever. Use food and water that is near its expiration, then replace the item on your next trip to the store.

PHOENIX--Everyone has their favorite season.


For many Arizonans, including most “back East” expats like me, that time of year is autumn, which in our minds’ unofficially starts Labor Day weekend. September is, after all, when football monopolizes the weekends, days get shorter, and temperatures ... frequently exceed 100 degrees!?


In truth, it doesn’t start to feel like autumn in parts of Arizona until October. Even October is pushing it.


Before you bury your head in a hot pumpkin spice latte, however, let me explain why September isn’t a total loss--there’s still football; the kids are back in school; and September is National Preparedness Month.


National Preparedness Month is something of a holiday in the emergency management community; its aim is motivate you to get prepared for all hazards, including floods, wildfires and extreme heat.


How you celebrate National Preparedness Month is up to you, but the Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) asks you to do more than theorize what you would do in response to an emergency.


·     Make a Plan that identifies family meeting places, lists important numbers and includes an Out-of-Town Contact. If you have neither a contact nor a plan, download a free template from Ready.gov.

·     Prepare a Kit with enough nonperishable food, potable water and prescription medications to last 72 hours. Suggested kit items include a manual can opener, a flashlight, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, and copies of important documents.

·     Be Informed of the threats to your community and what your employer, child’s school or daycare, and local emergency management office is doing to prepare. Keep updated on local and national weather and news, and learn to use everyday technologies (e.g., the internet and mobile phones) to stay connected.

·     Inspire Others with your positive preparedness example. Give blood or take a basic first aid course and invite others to join you. Share what you’ve learned about personal and family preparedness and find ways to involve others in the preparations. 


In addition to Plan, Prepare, Inquire and Inspire, here are four things you can do this September to get better prepared.


Submit a recipe to the Emergency Kit Cook-Off


For the fourth straight year, the Emergency Kit Cook-off, www.EmergencyKitCookOff.org, challenges the Whole Community to exercise the contents of their emergency kits. Create a recipe that pairs at least one of this year’s Featured Ingredients with other nonperishables from your kit or pantry. The 2014 Featured Ingredients are chickpeas, canned pumpkin, instant Ramen noodles, almond milk and dark chocolate.


Recipes are accepted year-round, but only those submitted by Sept. 30 are rewarded with a Kit Cook-Off apron—while supplies last.


If you don’t have a kit, there’s no better time than National Preparedness Month to make one. For starters, gather enough perishable food, potable water and prescription medications to sustain your family (don't forget your pets) for 72 hours.


If you do have a kit, the Emergency Kit Cook-Off is a good time to exercise it; in other words, use any items close to expiration and then replace it on your next trip to the grocery store


Make contact with your Out-of-Town Contact


For many people “getting prepared” is a good idea that most of us aspire to get around to. And if/when we do find the time we ask ourselves, “Where do I start?” ADEM says start with a family communication plan and a phone call or text to your Out-of-Town Contact.


An Out-of-Town Contact is somebody who lives in a different town—preferably another state—that your family can call in an emergency. It is his or her responsibility to relay “safe and well” messages between family members and to help families reunite after an emergency.


If you don't have an Out-of-Town Contact, it takes only a few minutes. First, look through your Contacts for a friend or relative who lives out of town and answers his or her phone. An emergency is no time to play phone tag. Then call or text that person to ask him or her to be your family's Out-of-Town Contact. Offer to be theirs in return. Finally, update your Family Communication Plan. If you don't have a plan, download a free template from Ready.gov.


Enter your home address into the Natural Hazards Viewer


Be informed of the threats to your home and family. Plug your address into the Natural Hazards Viewer, data.usgin.org/hazard-viewer, to identify local hazards and learn how to mitigate the impacts on persons and property. The Hazards Viewer maps earth fissures, active faults, earthquake epicenters, flood potential and fire risk in Arizona. ADEM partnered with the Arizona Geological Survey to script the mitigation recommendations.


Share this article with three other people


Even if you ignore every call to action thrown at you this National Preparedness Month, there is one thing you can do to inspire others to get prepared. Email a link to this article to three friends, family members and/or coworkers. Better yet, share the article with your Twitte