Sunday, September 16, 2007

Resources for National Preparedness Month

Tip of the Week, September 9, 2007

September is National Preparedness Month, a time to gather supplies and create a plan so you, your family, and your co-workers would be ready in the event of an emergency or a natural disaster. Though it can be unpleasant to even consider the possibility of such events, it’s well worth making a small investment of time to prepare for them; doing so can make it significantly easier to handle an emergency, and can lessen the impact one would have on you, your family, and your place of business.

Here are links to some websites providing detailed, straightforward information on how to be ready in case of an emergency.

Ready America: www.ready.gov
Developed and maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ready.gov is an excellent clearinghouse of information on how to prepare for an emergency. The site features downloadable and printable brochures, forms, and checklists, as well as easy-to-follow, step-by-step information on getting an emergency supplies kit, making a plan for what to do in case of an emergency, and learning more about the types of disasters that could affect different parts of the country. In addition, ready.gov has information on emergency preparedness specifically for older adults and people with disabilities, as well as a separate site with emergency preparedness info aimed at kids and a site in Spanish.

Citizen Corps: www.citizencorps.gov
Citizen Corps was created in the wake of the September 11 attacks to coordinate volunteer activities aimed at safety and emergency preparedness within local communities. The Corps encompasses programs such as CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), the Fire Corps, and the Medical Reserve Corps. The Citizen Corps website includes information about and links to partner programs, tips on emergency preparedness measures you can take right away, and local and national event listings.

San Francisco Emergency Preparedness: www.72hours.org
Though some of the information on this site (such as guidelines on what to do during an earthquake) is specific to San Francisco and its surrounding communities, much of it is applicable no matter where you live or what emergencies you might face. The site provides information on creating an emergency plan, building kits (including first aid, food and water, and pet care kits), and getting involved in emergency preparedness activities locally. (While this info applies primarily to San Francisco, there are links to programs in other Bay Area communities.) The site is comprehensive, easy to navigate, and entirely printable with one click, should you want to have the info available offline.

Unclutterer’s series on storing valuable information: www.unclutterer.com
Finally, the blog unclutterer.com has some excellent posts on how best to store valuable information, whether on-site or off. In the first post of the series, the author answers a reader’s question about what to store in a fireproof box in his home, and she also offers suggestions about what not to store in such a box and why. In the second post, she provides guidelines on what to look for in a fireproof box or safe, as well as information on how to safely store digital media such as photos and electronic files. Both posts are detailed without being overly technical, and together they provide a comprehensive overview of how to keep important documents and other information safe in case of an emergency.

Take some time this month to visit these sites and to create kits and plans that will help keep you safe should disaster strike. The effort you put into being prepared could pay off many times over should you ever find yourself faced with an emergency.

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