President Obama officially proclaimed September National Preparedness Month, establishing September 30, 2016 as a “national day of action,” aka “America’s PrepareAthon.” Managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the campaign is designed to spark awareness and preparedness among the general public.
The emphasis on awareness and active participation in safety-related exercises is especially timely in light of the recent terrorist attacks in New York and New Jersey. Also, in a separate and apparently unrelated incident in Minnesota, a terrorist attack was thwarted by a trained firearms expert, whose quick thinking and ready action saved the lives of innocent people.
In each of these incidents, well-prepared Americans, first-responders and members of the general public worked together to lessen the severity of incidents relative to attacks and/or helped the injured while simultaneously staying alert to additional threats.
America’s PrepareAthon encourages alertness in several types of incidents:
- FEMA provides free materials such as badges and posters to promote preparedness for floods, earthquakes, winter storms, etc.
- A compelling video showcases the way bystanders helped victims.
- Disaster preparedness-related news is announced through the #PrepareAthon Twitter feed.
- Concerned members of the public can conduct drills, test communication plans, safeguard documents, and make plans with neighbors for post-disaster actions.
- Common steps to follow after a disaster such as tornadoes, hurricanes, active shooter incidents, winter storms, wildfires, and earthquakes alert the public.
How America’s PrepareAthon could potentially save lives:
Active Shooter Scenarios
America’s PrepareAthon offers useful advice for active shooter incidents. Here is what you can learn:
- Find active shooter training classes, which are held at various locations throughout the country.
- Discern the importance of quickly running, hiding, or fighting (if necessary).
- Take first aid classes which instruct students in emergency procedures, such as how to tie a tourniquet.
- Determine when to report suspicious activity to law enforcement.
Severe winter storms bring ice, freezing rain, and potentially crippling quantities of snow, posing risks to first responders as well as the general public.
How to properly manage a major winter storm:
- Prepare by stocking up on valuable supplies, such as food and water.
- Create a backup heat source in case electrical or gas power are compromised.
- Understand the potential dangers of fallen power lines, which can be pulled down by ice accumulating on trees.
- Prepare your car by keeping the tank full to prevent the gas line from freezing. Also, pack extra blankets and water in your car as well as chains.
- Set outside faucets to trickle to keep the pipes from freezing.
- Create a travel bag containing several layers of clothing, a first aid kit, and signaling devices.
- Prepare a “Go Bag.”
Remember that safety is a daily priority, not just on September 30th during America’s PrepareAthon. Take advantage of the resources offered through FEMA and other agencies, which can provide you and building occupants with lifesaving tips. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.