This September: A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare.

First responder at Ground ZeroThis September marks the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 and I encourage you to take time to remember those lost as well as time to make sure you are prepared for future emergencies. September is also National Preparedness Month (NPM), which was founded after 9/11 to increase preparedness in the U.S. It is a time to prepare yourself, your family and even your business for an unexpected emergency.

If you’ve seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. Across Georgia in recent years we’ve seen tornado outbreaks, floods, crippling ice storms, and even power outages affecting thousands of people for days at a time.

This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these three steps:

1. Prepare: Make a kit with enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care – water, non-perishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, battery-powered radio. Create a customized checklist of supplies on the Ready Georgia website.

2. Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with your family. Work together with neighbors, colleagues and others to build community resilience.

3. Stay Informed: Find out what to do before, during, and after an emergency. Contact your local emergency management agency to get essential information on specific hazards to your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up for emergency alerts if they are available.

Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly, such as if trees and power lines are down or if they’re overwhelmed by demand from an emergency. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover. Once you’ve prepared for yourself and your family, think about your neighbors and do what you can to help them prepare as well.

Take time this September to remember, and to prepare.