Firefighting, Hazmat

September is National Preparedness Month

United States Fire Administrator Greg Cade reminds all firefighters September is National Preparedness Month.

“It is the position of the U.S. Fire Administration to support the efforts of DHS and FEMA to ensure all citizens be protected against death, injury, and property loss resulting from both man-made and nature caused emergencies affecting all residents,” said Administrator Cade.

Given recent events, we know first hand that preparing in advance can lessen or eliminate deaths, injuries, and property damage. In most types of disasters the risk for fire is increased due to loose electrical wires, broken gas lines, flooding, or the lack of electricity. In addition, fires in residences are a personal disaster striking hundreds of thousands of homes each year. For these reasons, each of us should take the time to find out how to be prepared. Being prepared is having family preparedness kits and family emergency plans.

All firefighters, regardless of affiliation, would benefit from learning not only how to be ready in case of natural or man-made disasters, but also how to assist their community residents and businesses in preparing for the unexpected. Fire and other types of disasters–hurricane, flood, tornado, earthquake, hazardous materials spill, and winter storm–can strike quickly and without warning. You can better cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together.

“Fire Service leaders should prepare their departments’ contingency operation (COOP) and reconstitution plans and review them frequently,” continued Cade. “If the recent past is our guide to the future, we know that the efforts for preparing a department for extended operations and preparing the department’s infrastructure have made for rapid recovery and successful returns to normal fire department operations.”

For more information on preparedness for natural and man-made disasters, and National Preparedness Month 2008, please visit Ready.gov.

For more information on fire department preparedness, see the USFA report Fire Department Preparedness for Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters.