A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is set up at a hockey rink in Long Beach, New York, on Nov. 8, 2012, to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy. (Christopher Ragazzo/FEMA)

When Disaster Strikes, Every Minute Counts

FEMA promotes National Preparedness Month each September because preparation saves lives and prevents loss. Taking a few minutes now can make a life-changing difference when disaster strikes.

  1. What do you need? Don’t run around stuffing things in a bag when you need to evacuate. Put together an emergency kit now with water, food and medications for at least three days as well as some cash, a first aid kit, flashlight and batteries. And don’t forget your pets’ needs. You should also bring any important documents you may need in the wake of a disaster. For tips on building an emergency kit, see https://go.usa.gov/xmX9v.
  2. Where are you going? Figure out now where you’ll meet up with your family if you need to evacuate. Choose multiple destinations in different directions so you’ll have options in an emergency. To learn more, visit www.ready.gov/evacuating-yourself-and-your-family or www.listo.gov/es/como-usted-y-su-familia-deben-evacuar for Spanish.
  3. Can we talk? Phone service may be unavailable in a disaster. For help creating a family emergency communication plan, follow this link: https://go.usa.gov/xPcCF.
  4. Got the app? The FEMA mobile application, available at www.fema.gov/mobile-app, sends out National Weather Service alerts, safety reminders, emergency checklists and information about shelters.
  5. Who do you know? It’s a good idea to get to know your neighbors so you can assist each other in times of crisis. If you are able, please check in on your neighbors who may need help, particularly those who are elderly, have disabilities or care for multiple children.
  6. Have you signed up? Many communities will send you emergency notifications by text or email if you register. You can also get alerts through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Weather Radio (www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr) and www.hurricanes.gov.

To learn more about National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov/september. To find out more about creating an emergency plan, go to www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.

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