September is National Preparedness Month sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This year’s NPM theme –

“Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

– focuses on planning for emergencies such as fires, flooding, power outages, and earthquakes. Aside from the natural disasters there are other disasters on a more local nature that we can all experience and planning and preparedness for an emergency is the best defense.

The goal of NPM is to increase the number of individuals and communities that prepare for emergencies systematically. You and your family should prepare for disasters and be able to help first responders in your community.

You can learn how to respond during an emergency through training programs like Community Emergency Response Team. The course teaches disaster preparedness and basic disaster response skills such as CPR and first aid.

In Colorado we can narrow the possible disasters down a bit but we still have out threats. We don’t have to worry about a hurricane and earthquakes are rare but; wild fires, floods, tornados, hail, high winds, sever winter storms and power outages are all a very real and common possibility in northern Colorado. Along Colorado’s northern front range we have experienced all of these within the past year. If you have a home in the mountain or foothills communities like Boulder, Golden, Lyons, Nederland or Blackhawk then wild fires are a PROBABILITY. If you live anywhere along the front range of Colorado; Thornton, Northglenn, Erie, Firestone, Frederick, Loveland, Commerce City or Arvada then you know hailstorms, severe winds and thunder storms are a regular occurrence

There are also the local emergencies that may be limited to only your household or your family, these can include

  • House fire
  • Smoke damage
  • Water damage, a leak or localized flood in your home
  • Extended power outage
  • Getting trapped in your car during a winter storm. If you enjoy mountain activities winter or summer you regularly drive your car at high altitudes sometimes over 11,000 feet. That is a harsh and unforgiving environment; you don’t want to get trapped there without being prepared.

Make September the month to get prepared:

General guidelines for preparedness:

  • Have a family emergency preparedness plan appropriate for your circumstances. Make sure all family members re familiar with the plan. Include communications plans, evacuation routes and meeting places.
  • Check your insurance coverage, make sure it’s adequate for your risks
  • Make sure you are financially prepared with emergency funds or an emergency credit card
  • Share with others, use social media to encourage your friends to be prepared, share preparedness ideas
  • Work with your community or church to help the whole community be prepared.

 

More specific suggestions for your home:

  • Replace batteries in your smoke detectors once a year, pick a time and put it on your calendar.
  • Make sure you have flashlights powered and ready throughout the house
  • Know the location of the main water shut off valve and make sure everyone in the house knows it as well. Tag it for easy recognition. Send us an email and we will mail you a water shut-off tag like the one pictured
  • Have an emergency kit prepared in your car. Check this earlier blog for ideas on the contents of that kit
  • If you live in a wild fire zone follow recommended wildfire preparedness guidelines on maintaining a safe-zone around your house
  • Sign up for reverse 911 services in your community if necessary.
  • Have a Go-bag prepared and ready with the items you would need if you have to leave quickly.
  • Keep some tarps around the house to patch up leaks in the roof in an emergency.

 

Besides creating an emergency plan, you can spread the word about NPM using the social media kit on NPM’s website. The kit provides key marketing and preparedness messaging to print or share on your social media channels.