As if to accent the message, on this first day of National Preparedness Month a Tropical Storm and proto-hurricane Hermine is chugging away a little over 200 miles to my west, headed for a Florida Panhandle landfall later tonight.
Although I'm in the Tropical Storm Warning area, I'm not expecting much here beyond heavy rains, localized flooding, and a gusty squall or two. Nevertheless, I've more than enough water, canned food, batteries, Rx meds, and other necessities on hand to weather a week or more stuck at home without power or water.
And more importantly, I've at least two prearranged places I can go to evacuate if the need arises.
These are preparedness steps I've taken at the start of every hurricane season of my adult life living in Florida. While I've only rarely needed these things over the past 40 years, when I have, I've really needed them.
Which is why today, and for the next 30 days, you are going to be hearing a lot about individual, family, business, and community preparedness from FEMA & READY.GOV, the American Red Cross, and a barrage of new Public Service Announcements, social media, and blogs like this one.
This combined effort is all part of the National Preparedness Month, a campaign that began in 2004, and has grown with each passing year.
For those who equate prepping with sensationalized cable TV and Internet `Doomsday-type’ preppers, rest assured we aren’t talking about digging a bunker, laying in a 10-year supply of freeze dried foods, or stockpiling guns and ammo.
The goal of #NatlPrep is to foster a culture of national preparedness, and to encourage everyone to plan and be prepared to deal with an event where they can go at least 72 hours without electricity, running water, local services, or access to a supermarket.
These are, of course, minimum goals.
Disruptions that follow hurricanes, tornado outbreaks, floods, and other natural disasters can potentially last for days or even weeks, and so – if you are able to do so - being prepared for 10 days to 2 weeks makes a good deal of sense (see When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough).
And for my money, perhaps most importantly, having – and being – a `disaster buddy’.
In NPM14: In an Emergency, Who Are You Going To Call?, I wrote that a `Disaster Buddy’ is simply someone you have prearranged that you can call on during a crisis, and who in turn, can call on you if they need help. And the more `disaster buddies’ you have in your personal network, the more options you will have in an emergency.
Over the next month I'll be devoting considerable blog time and space to the topic of disaster preparedness. Along the way we'll look at some threats you and your family may not have considered.
I hope you’ll take some time during the coming weeks to think about how to make your family, business, or community better prepared to deal with the next disaster, and then act on it.
And that you’ll encourage others to do the same.
For more on how to prepare, please visit these websites:
AMERICAN RED CROSS http://www.redcross.org/