September is National Preparedness Month, or NPM.
NPM, now in its ninth year, is a nationwide, month-long effort hosted by the Ready Army Campaign and U.S. Army leadership. The event is designed to heighten awareness and encourage households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies. The theme for this year’s NPM is “You Can Be the Hero.” Once again, Fort Huachuca is involved.
Normal day-to-day activity could be interrupted by naturally occurring events such as destructive weather and associated infrastructure loss or interruption; wildland fires that cause evacuations; a terrorist-related event like a hostage situation or active shooter; or an interruption caused by an technological failure of our power grid or network.
To “be the hero,” people need to be prepared in the event an emergency causes them to be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services, or maybe even without response from police, fire or rescue.
Prepare with several important steps.
The installation and community emergency preparedness agencies are the primary sources of information on the threats the community faces, and on the response plans. Additionally, sites sponsored by Ready Army and Ready Gov are a reliable source of preparedness information. If an unexpected emergency were to occur, advisories, warnings or action messages are broadcasted by several systems that are installed on the installation to warn of impending dangers. The systems include, among others, the Grant Voice public address system, computer pop-up messages and installation marquees.
Make a plan
A plan drives actions and keeps anxiety in check. Remember that many events can trigger an emergency that could potentially escalate into a disaster. So, plan the response. Plan for the short notice evacuation order, the utility interruptions and potential to shelter-in-place. Develop and practice your Family’s communication plan if separation of immediate Family members was to occur.
Practice your plan
Practice gathering the emergency kit and important documents, communicating with one another and meeting at a designated place. Afterwards, review the response and update the plan. Knowing what to do can make all the difference when seconds count.
Build an emergency supply kit
An emergency supply kit is an essential tool for meeting preparedness challenges. To prepare your Family for an emergency, build a kit that includes enough essential supplies to meet everyone’s needs for at least three days. Building the kit is a Family affair, so include children and remember pets during the process.
Keep a kit at home, and consider having a kit in the car and at work. The kits will enable you and the Family to respond to an emergency more quickly. Having various emergency kits will be useful whether everyone has to evacuate or shelter-in-place.
A metal bowl can do double duty as a cup and saucepan. A brightly colored poncho can be used as water repellent clothing or a marker, and two together can create a temporary shelter. Furthermore, be sure to rotate the items in the kit periodically to ensure nothing has expired, adding or removing special items as needed and adjusting for change in season or location.
In the face of disaster, the Fort Huachuca community comes together with courage, compassion and unity and asks, “How can I help?” The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make Families, homes and community safer from risks and threats.
Community leaders agree the formula for ensuring a safer community consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public, and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters.
Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies. So get involved before, during and after a disaster strikes. Volunteer to support disaster efforts. Receive basic first aid and CPR training. Know and understand Fort Huachuca’s community emergency plans. Work with friends, neighbors and colleagues in improving their preparedness plans. Lastly, support major disasters by donating cash or goods that may help community needs of in times of disaster.
For more information about National Preparedness Month, go to http://www.acsim.army.mil/readyarmy/?, http://www.ready.gov or and your unit’s emergency manager coordinator. For additional information about emergency planning on Fort Huachuca, call 533.0070.