It’s National Preparedness Month: Are You Ready for the Next Disaster?
September 1, 2015
September is National Preparedness Month, and this year’s theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” Each week of the month focuses on a different preparedness theme, including flood, wildfire, hurricane, and power outage. A special National PrepareAthon! Day of Action will take place on September 30.
Use this month to raise awareness in your community about steps residents can take to prepare before a disaster strikes. Also, make sure your department is prepared to respond to various disasters. You can find tools and resources for National Preparedness Month from the Ready Campaign at www.ready.gov/september. Register your preparedness events with America’s PrepareAthon at http://community.fema.gov/.
The NVFC has resources to help your department and community prepare for disasters. The Wildland Fire Assessment Program (WFAP), a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, provides volunteer firefighters and department support personnel with the tools, training, and resources they need to conduct home safety assessments in the wildland-urban interface. The program is designed to train fire service volunteers how to properly evaluate a home and provide residents with specific recommendations on how to protect their home and property from wildfires. Click here to learn more and access training and resources.
Fire Corps is a grassroots program that allows community members to volunteer with their local fire or EMS department in non-emergency roles. This could include conducting fire prevention and emergency preparedness education in the community, developing department preparedness plans, conducting home safety checks and smoke alarm installations, assisting with disaster drills, and more. Learn more about Fire Corps and how to start a program at www.firecorps.org. Find training on utilizing Fire Corps teams for preparedness and prevention efforts in the NVFC’s Virtual Classroom.
Making sure you have enough personnel to handle an emergency is a key component in preparedness. If your department is struggling with volunteer recruitment and retention, register with the NVFC’s new Make Me a Firefighter campaign. This program allows you to post your department’s volunteer opportunities, access recruitment training and resources, and utilize customizable recruitment tools such as flyers, postcards, and invitations that you can easily localize with your department’s information. Learn more and register today at portal.nvfc.org. New resources and training will be added throughout the fall.
Responders should also be physically and mentally prepared for the next emergency. The NVFC has resources to help firefighters, EMTs, and departments with safety and health preparedness at www.nvfc.org/health_safety. Find resources on specific health and safety topics including behavioral health, cancer, heart-health, and vehicle safety, among others.