(U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs)

The Lessons of National Preparedness Month Continue All Year Long

National Preparedness Month is ending, but the relevance of this annual event continues beyond September. The active hurricane season and devastating series of wildfires out west, both during a global pandemic, are proof that all Americans need to plan for emergencies in their communities.

The 2020 preparedness month theme – “Disasters don’t wait. Make your plan today.” – is especially fitting for our nation right now. The actions of ordinary citizens can make a tremendous impact on the response to and mitigation of disasters everywhere.

In support of this initiative, FEMA shares tips and toolkits at our comprehensive Ready.gov portal with guidance to help you create a plan, build an emergency toolkit, and prepare yourself and your family for almost every type of disaster imaginable. This year we also added COVID-19 pandemic safety tips to all disaster guides due to this additional threat we all must consider during this time.

Preparation is an important component of FEMA’s mission. Our emergency managers are most visible in the aftermath of emergencies, but we also lead and fund projects to improve community readiness long before disasters happen and provide grants that fund additional first responders and improve emergency warning systems.

As we fulfill our mission to the American people, we often say that, “the best time to prepare was yesterday; the next best is today.” None of us have the power to prevent disasters from happening, but all of us can help create a culture that embraces readiness and builds resilience for the potential dangers that our communities may face.

We are all in this together, and I encourage all Americans to explore our tools and learn how to play your part in creating a more prepared and resilient nation.

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Lea Crager is Ready Campaign Director at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She is former Deputy Administrator of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, where she served as State Coordinating Officer for three of Mississippi's federally-declared disasters and as Deputy SCO for eight additional disasters.

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