It’s National Preparedness Month: Pledge to Prepare!
September 4, 2012
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). This is the perfect opportunity for you and your department, business, or other organization to encourage more Americans to be prepared. Start by leading with your example and joining the NPM Coalition by taking the Pledge to Prepare.
Led by FEMA and sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps, NPM is an annual campaign to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses, and communities. While September is the month for recognizing national preparedness, the goal is to engage the public to make preparedness a part of their daily lives every day and not one single month.
This September marks the ninth annual NPM. This year’s theme is “Pledge to Prepare -Awareness to Action.” Use this opportunity to encourage the public – individuals, businesses, and organizations – to take specific action steps by doing at least one of the following:
- Learn about emergency hazards and their appropriate responses
- Make a communications plan
- Build an emergency kit
- Get involved in preparedness in their community
As an NPM Coalition member, you will have access to resources including the NPM event calendar, discussion forums, outreach tools and templates, key messages, planning and promotional materials, event ideas, resources for preparing various populations in your community, and much more.
NPM activity ideas for your department or organization include the following:
- Leverage Existing Events: Participate in events and meetings that already exist within your community, through local farmers markets, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis, VFW, or the American Legion. Whether it’s offering to talk about preparedness or having a representative available to talk to community members and pass out information, tapping into something that is already planned and scheduled is a great way to reach members of your community.
- Host an Event, Meeting, or Workshop: Host an event, such as a preparedness workshop, day, or fair. Ladder trucks and ambulances serve as a perfect backdrop for an educational booth where you distribute home fire safety checklists or surveys, schedule smoke alarm installations, and/or answer questions about smoke and CO alarms and offer fire safety tips. You may even offer to provide CPR training and/or blood pressure checks to community groups.
- Be Part of a Much Larger Event or Initiative: Individuals want to be part of something bigger. For example, September 11th is now an annual day of service and this year will mark the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Since fire and EMS were a critical part of the 9/11 response, you might consider doing a preparedness event for this year’s annual day of service. Be sure to post your event both on 911dayofservice.org and http://community.fema.gov/connect.ti/READYNPM.
- Spread the Preparedness Message: Include preparedness messaging in existing forms of communications, such as emails, web sites, blogs, social media, newsletters, and even as bill stuffers. Once you’re signed up as a Coalition Member, you will have access to ready-to-use messaging that you can use or customize.
- Host a Preparedness Open House that doubles as a volunteer recruitment event to assist you in fire prevention activities.
- Reach out to youth and families by planning a visit to a local school or day care to discuss emergency plans and fire safety and distribute information that they can take home about the importance of emergency preparedness and the steps they can take to be prepared.
- Consider announcing the launch of a junior firefighter program, Teen CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), or a new partnership with a local youth program that will integrate preparedness with a press release and social media effort.
- Reach out to senior citizens by visiting local senior centers to discuss emergency plans and fire safety.
Learn more about NPM, join the coalition, and access tools and resources for getting your community prepared at http://community.fema.gov/connect.ti/READYNPM. Additional resources and information are available on the Fire Corps NPM Resource Center.