National Preparedness Month: Are You Really Ready for Emergencies?

September is National Preparedness Month, which aims to educate and empower Americans on emergency preparedness before disaster strikes.

With hurricane season at its peak and threats like earthquakes, floods and fires a year-round reality, being prepared can save your life.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • The shocking event that led to the creation of National Preparedness Month
  • 4 critical steps you must take to get prepared
  • Key supplies every emergency kit needs
  • How you can get involved in your community’s readiness

Born Out of Tragedy: The Origins of National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month began after the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil – September 11, 2001. Out of this tragedy, the government realized Americans needed more education to be ready for emergencies.

In 2004, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched National Preparedness Month to promote disaster and emergency planning. It coincides with the height of hurricane season, when preparedness is paramount.

Now every September, FEMA partners with organizations like the American Red Cross to encourage citizens to take steps toward readiness, so when the next disaster comes, they can cope and recover more quickly.

Could you survive for 72 hours without electricity, water or access to a store? Most Americans couldn’t.

That’s why National Preparedness Month matters – it pushes us to take action instead of sticking our heads in the sand.

4 Critical Steps to Total Emergency Preparedness

When an emergency strikes, it’s too late to start getting ready. Use National Preparedness Month to get prepared with these 4 key steps:

1. Learn Your Local Risks and Make a Plan

Different regions face unique threats – earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, winter storms, and more.

Visit and enter your ZIP code to check the likely disasters for your area. Make a plan so every family member knows how to respond.

Identify escape routes, safe meeting places and key contacts. Practice evacuation drills. Being proactive can reduce panic and confusion when seconds count.

2. Build a Disaster Supply Kit

Imagine getting stuck without power or water for days on end. A well-stocked emergency kit provides for your basic survival needs during a crisis.

Essential items include:

  • 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days
  • Non-perishable food for 3 days
  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and medications
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of important documents
  • Cash

Keep supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers. Refresh your kit annually.

3. Strengthen Your Home

A disaster-resistant home can reduce damage and minimize disruption. Secure items that may shake loose in storms like water heaters and bookcases. Install window coverings for hurricanes. Declutter areas to prevent fall and fire hazards.

In wildfire-prone zones, create defensible space and use fire-resistant materials. Make improvements to mitigate flooding if needed. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

4. Get Involved in Community Preparedness

A culture of readiness empowers everyone. Seek out preparedness groups and training in your town. Form teams to assist vulnerable neighbors when catastrophe strikes.

Attending events during National Preparedness Month is a great start to get motivated, educated and make connections. Mark the National Day of Action on September 30 on your calendar.

When citizens become more self-reliant and participate in community resilience, disasters are no longer crises.

Don’t Wait – Destiny Favors the Prepared

We can’t control when a disaster will strike. But we can control our readiness to handle it.

Use National Preparedness Month to take initiative, close preparedness gaps, and gain peace of mind. Empower yourself with the knowledge, plans and supplies you need to stay safe in turbulent times.

Will you be ready?

If you would like more information about National Preparedness Month and how you can become better prepared in the event of an emergency, please visit