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National Emergency Preparedness Month runs throughout September

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with the Citizen Corps, the Ready Campaign, and other federal groups, designate September as National Emergency Preparedness Month in the United States. September 2014 is the 11th annual Emergency Preparedness Month.

From fires to floods, from droughts to derailments, from epidemics to electrical outages or radiation leaks, and from tornados to terrorist attacks, emergencies can appear without warning. A large-scale disaster can strike suddenly, finding families stunned and ill-equipped to deal with the aftermath.

"Disasters can strike in the blink of an eye, anytime, anywhere," explained Dennis Hunsinger, FEMA Region 10 administrator. "We urge every American to take the steps necessary to keep their family safe."

“National Preparedness Month serves as a reminder that we all need to prepare for disasters and emergencies,” said FEMA Region V acting regional administrator, Janet Odeshoo. “Make disaster readiness manageable by taking one step at a time— start by learning your specific risk, then gather supplies for an emergency kit, and finally develop a family communications plan. By taking these small, but critical, steps, over time you can be prepared for disasters.”

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Emergency preparedness counts for plenty.

During National Emergency Preparedness Month in September, national, state and local groups are urged to promoted organizational and personal preparedness, in case a large-scale emergency should occur. Schools and community organizations offer educational programs, particularly promoting family preparedness.

“As a nation we are seeing disasters increase in their size and complexity, and they are occurring with greater frequency,” Odeshoo added. “The impacts of these events are a reminder that everyone should be prepared for the hazards faced in their communities or even while traveling. Make preparedness a priority for your family today and help encourage a culture of preparedness in your community.”

Emergency preparedness efforts are in place at the state level.

Several U.S. state governors have issued official Emergency Preparedness Month resolutions, including those of Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and more.

In addition, many U.S. states have set up public websites to promote emergency preparedness and offer local emergency procedures and support services. These states include:

At the local, state and national levels, individuals and families may promote public preparedness for large-scale emergencies by donating blood, funds and volunteer hours.

Emergency preparedness education is offered through printed materials, relevant websites, local workshops and seminars, and National Preparedness Month in September.

The Council for Excellence in Government offers an online questionnaire, through which folks can test their own Readiness Quotient for emergency preparedness.

How can individuals and families prepare for a potential disaster or national emergency?

Although many emergencies do occur without warning, others may be somewhat anticipated. Timely information, such as news and weather reports, may prove invaluable in such times.

Each family member needs to know the local disaster sirens and signals and what specific actions are to be taken, if these alerts should be employed.

In addition, emergency experts advise families and individuals to have emergency preparedness plans in place and to have disaster supply kits on-hand.