Prepare for emergency situations by joining America’s PreparAthon!

On September 5, 2013 during National Preparedness Month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a nationwide, community-based initiative to increase emergency preparedness.

Since 2004, FEMA has designated September as National Preparedness Month and conducted a variety of outreach efforts through their Ready Campaign program to educate the public how to best prepare for and respond to a number of emergency situations and natural disasters. They work closely with Citizen Corps and National Preparedness Community (NPC) members. These organizations state that close coordination and good communication must exist between government, emergency managers, public and private sectors as well as individuals to truly achieve community resilience.

The goal of these programs is to increase emergency preparedness awareness and encourage residents to make preparedness part of their daily lives by taking steps to survive emergencies at home, work, school, places of worship and other community locations.

America’s PrepareAthon! will take preparedness one step future by sponsoring hazard-specific drills, group discussions and exercises every spring and fall. The first official nationwide America’s PrepareAthon! event is scheduled to occur in Spring 2014. Beginning in December 2013, those interested in participating can register online. To receive updates, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). You can also follow them on Twitter @PrepareAthon.

In order to reach the widest audience possible, a variety of promotional avenues including social media, radio and printed materials will be utilized to promote America’s PrepareAthon!.

Each year, the spring events will focus on learning protective actions, mitigation measures and community plans for tornados, hurricanes, floods and wildfires. In the fall, the programs will emphasize preparedness for earthquakes, pandemic flu, winter weather and hazardous materials. Customizable templates will be available to enable communities to practice for other local hazards of concern.

FEMA selected Spring and Fall for these activities as those time periods tie in with several existing hazard awareness campaigns, allowing for collaboration and reinforcement of important concepts. For schools especially, these time frames are ideal.

A special community day of action, the Great ShakeOut, is being conducted October 17, 2013. Similar to fire drills practiced in schools across the nation, this one day event will provide an opportunity for people in homes, schools and organizations improve preparedness and practice how to be safe during an earthquake.

According to the America’s PrepareAthon! website, the goal of these activities is to build a more secure and resilient nation with an increased number of individuals who not only understand the hazards most relevant to their community and know the recommended actions to take, they have actually practiced these steps.

If you do experience an emergency situation or natural disaster and find that you have questions about food safety or home clean up, visit the Michigan State University Extension website. You can browse a variety of informative articles, search additional resources at Extension’s online bookstore, post a question, and find contact information for your local county Extension office.

Related Articles

Related Resources