Emergency preparedness is as simple as having a kit and making a plan. It sounds easy enough, but last year 55 percent of families in the U.S. were not properly prepared for an emergency, according to a Harris Interactive survey sponsored by GE Generator Systems. September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). All month long, GE Generator Systems—a coalition member of FEMA’s Ready campaign—is educating the public about the importance of home preparedness. The Ready campaign each year urges families to keep an emergency preparedness kit on hand and create an emergency communication plan. “It makes sense to think about preparedness in September,” said Amanda Grandy, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton® Standby Power, the exclusive licensee of GE Generator Systems. “The brunt of the hurricane season for the Atlantic and Gulf coast states is front and center and, as we saw last year with Hurricane Sandy, these events can affect a much wider swath of the population than just families on the coasts.” Emergency Preparedness KitHaving an emergency preparedness kit of items that your household may need is critical prior to an emergency. Assuming that basic utilities such as electricity, gas, water, sewage, and phone service may be unavailable after a storm strikes, the emergency readiness kit should contain food, water, any necessary medications, lighting, and backup battery supplies. Emergency Communications PlanPlanning ahead helps guarantee that families stay safe and comfortable immediately following a disaster. It’s important to have a plan in place before disaster strikes because family members may not be together when it happens, according to FEMA. Things to consider in an emergency communication plan include:
- Establish a family emergency contact point person. Identify an out-of-town contact because, depending on the situation, that person may be in a better position to coordinate with separated family members.
- Make sure that family members know your home phone number and have access to a cell phone to call the designated emergency contact.
- Establish a meeting location for family members in case communication is difficult.
- Subscribe to emergency alert services, if available. Many communities offer emergency alerts via email or text that provide information about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc.