Military News

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Take action: September is National Preparedness Month

by Senior Airman Diana M. Cossaboom
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/15/2015 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.  -- September is National Preparedness Month, and Air Combat Command encourages Airmen, civilians and their families to be prepared for emergencies and disasters at all times.

This year's theme is "Don't wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today," and each week of the month is dedicated to different focuses that can help keep families and Airmen prepared for crises.

At Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management team is conducting several events to promote preparedness, including providing an information booth and visiting various schools throughout September.

"National Preparedness Month is a month that we look at different natural disasters that can happen in the area and a way to prepare the local personnel on actions to take," said Senior Airman Michaela Baker, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman.

There are a number of natural disasters people can experience, including hurricanes, flooding, thunderstorms, tornadoes and extreme heat or extreme cold -- depending on the season.

Some preparedness tips provided by emergency management include:
- Know the hazards that occur in the area.
- Learn the evacuation routes and shelter locations.
- Have an emergency or disaster kit ready and know how to use it.
- Know how to reconnect with people following an emergency.
- Learn emergency skills including how to use a fire extinguisher and first aid.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in 2014, a total of 84 disasters were declared and 45 of them were declared as a major disaster.

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail," said Staff Sgt. Catrina Rouse, 20th CES emergency management craftsman. "Any kind of preparation you can do before something actually happens is always best."

Emergency management suggests the following to be put into an emergency kit:
- Emergency contact numbers
- Medications
- Vet records for pets
- Non-perishable food
- A gallon of water per person, per day
- A couple changes of clothes
- First aid kit
- Flashlight with extra bulbs
- Batteries
- Games to keep children entertained
- Manual can opener

"We suggest packing anything you would need to keep yourself comfortable, but not too much where you can't carry it around," Rouse said.

The command also encourages people to keep their personal contact information up to date to ensure they receive pertinent ACC and base-specific notifications in a timely manner.

Emergencies and disasters can happen at a moment's notice. Staying prepared can not only make things easier and less stressful during traumatic times, but could potentially save lives and keep families together and safe.

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