National Preparedness Month: Prepare Your Neighborhood, Prepare your Community

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), a time to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, business, and communities. The theme for NPM 2010 is “Plan Now. Work Together. Be Ready.” Take advantage of this opportunity to make sure your department, Fire Corps team, and community are prepared for all types of emergency situations.

This week’s focus is about preparing your neighborhood and community. Fire Corps teams can reach out to neighbors and other stakeholders in their areas to spread preparedness messages and inform the public about how to be ready for any emergency. Use the information below from to garner ideas about how to make your community safer and better prepared.

Prepare Your Neighborhood

Discuss Preparedness in your Neighborhood
Ask your Home Owners Association or Neighborhood Civic Association to make emergency preparedness an agenda item during its September meeting. This is a great way to make sure there is an evacuation plan for your neighborhood and to communicate it to your neighbors. Invite neighbors who feel they may need a bit of extra help to let others know; make a commitment as a community to help one another.

Blog About It.
Include articles or write-ups in your blog or community Web site encouraging your community to become prepared.

Distribute Family Emergency Plan Templates and Emergency Supply Checklists
You can download Family Emergency Plan templates and Emergency Supply Kit checklists at

Review Emergency Plans
Review emergency plans for the places where you and your family spend time, such as schools, workplaces, places of worship, and at home.

Prepare Your Community

Include Preparedness Activities at Community Events
Include emergency preparedness in existing community events by conducting demonstrations or handing out materials. Consider local events already scheduled in your community during September such as state or county fairs, festivals, parades, or sporting events. This is an opportunity to have a table or booth set up to distribute emergency preparedness information, recruit volunteers, and/or share with the community what your organization is doing.

For the past six years, Minor League Baseball has worked with the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps to help spread the emergency preparedness message to baseball fans nationwide, so your local Minor League Baseball team might be able to assist in your efforts. Learn more at

Host a Preparedness Fair for Your Community
During the event, you could demonstrate how to build an emergency kit using the Ready Emergency Supply Checklist and walk through how to develop a Family Emergency Plan by using Ready’s Family Emergency Plan Template. Both are available at

Invite local government officials, first responders, and/or your local Citizen Corps Council to give a brief emergency preparedness presentation at a community recreation center, library, or other family gathering place. Use this opportunity to present the community’s emergency preparedness plan. A local first responder could discuss emergencies that could affect your area and the appropriate responses to such emergencies. You could also contact your local meteorologist and invite them to participate by sharing their expertise in weather-related emergencies.

During events, you could air the latest Ready public service announcements on a video monitor. Visit the NPM section of for instructions on how to access and download them, or you may also request them on DVD by sending an e-mail to

Encourage Your City or Town to Promote NPM Directly
Include preparedness as an item for discussion in monthly town meetings. Add preparedness messages to utility bills, newsletters, and on web sites.

Tweet About It.
Does your town, department, or Fire Corps team have a Twitter feed? Include messages throughout the month of September encouraging preparedness.

National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Ad Council. The 2010 event asks Americans to work together to concentrate actions towards emergency preparedness.

Find preparedness resources and tips to distribute in your community on the Ready web site at (English) and (Spanish), and on the Fire Corps web site at

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