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Plan now for natural disasters, major accidents, terrorist incidents

National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and recognized in the United States each September.

Chances are you’ve heard catch phrases throughout your life reminding you of the importance of planning and being prepared – phrases like “Failing to plan is planning to fail” or “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance” – have become modern-day proverbs of sorts, which are in turn rooted in our daily military operations.

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Keeping with the same mantra, failing to plan for natural disasters, major accidents or terrorist incidents outside of duty hours could also lead to unfortunate circumstances. These events can occur anytime and anywhere, on or off duty, and on or off base.

As the devastating hurricanes and various wildfires in 2017 have reminded, being prepared for natural disasters can be the difference between life and death or financial ruin.

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Natural disasters caused a combined $306 billion in damage in the United States in 2017 alone, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

You too could find yourself vulnerable to a wide array of disasters.

Keeping these reasons in mind, National Preparedness Month starts again this September. National Preparedness Month is a joint effort by federal, state, local and private organizations to remind everyone to take the opportunity to prepare themselves and their families before a disaster or emergency occurs.

The theme for this year’s National Preparedness Month is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”

Throughout the month, the campaign will address the following principles: Make and practice a plan; learn lifesaving skills; check your coverage; and save for an emergency.

One important aspect of being prepared is developing an emergency plan with your family. Sitting down prior to a disaster with your family and determining how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do will prove beneficial in the event of an emergency or disaster.

For best results, ensure your family plan addresses escape routes, communication, utility shut off, insurance and vital records, procedures for elderly and people with special needs, safety skills and care for animals.

Your family should assemble an emergency supply kit. With enough supplies for at least three days in it. Periodically replenish your emergency supply kit. Perishable objects should be restocked prior to the expiration date, and kits should be adjusted as family needs change.

For helpful lists of what to have in your emergency supply kit, resources like the Air Force’s Be Ready webpage at www.BeReady.af.mil and www.Ready.gov will be helpful.

Air Force Be Ready apps are available in the iTunes App Store and Google Play on your smart phone. Information can be download and tailor your needs.

For more information, contact your local Unit Emergency Management Representative or the Wright-Patterson Office of Emergency Management at 257-3634.

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