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September is Preparedness Month – So How Prepared Are We? Not So Much.


What will it take to make Americans take the issue of preparedness seriously?!?!  I have raised that question so many times…I am convinced it is a multiple pronged approach – no one way will work.  This is definitely not one size fits all!

For some, perhaps the CDC Zombie Invasion methodology is the hook. For others maybe it is a personal experience with disaster that changes how they view the world.  Maybe others take a class, hear a speech or read a pamphlet and get excited.  We need to find many different ways to engage our fellow citizens.

A study released in May noted that only one in four Americans are concerned that an emergency situation like a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or health pandemic will affect their community (SUNYIT/Zogby Analytics Poll).

When asked of the likelihood if a series of emergency situations were to occur in their community, the following percentages said the emergency was “likely” or “very likely”: 26% a general emergency, 24% an industrial accident, 23% a natural disaster, 20% a mass shooting, 19% a terrorist attack, and 15% a health pandemic.

If such an emergency situation were to occur, the most likely locations cited were a shopping mall (46%), an airport or train station (43%), a stadium or arena (42%), on a bus/plane or train (38%), an outdoor sporting or community event (35%), a school (30%), a roadway (28% ) or office building (28%), a bridge (27%), a hospital (25%), or at home (22%).

While 55% of respondents said that they were “confident in (their) knowledge of proper safety procedures”, only 36% said that they presently “have an emergency plan in place” in case of a major emergency.

I wasn’t comforted by any of those responses. I am curious that if Americans feel they are knowledgeable about preparation for emergency/disaster situations why do only one in three have actual preparedness plans. I really question what their level of readiness is.

So take this opportunity to promote preparedness this month.  FEMA has a website set up dedicated to the task.  Go get your toolkit and get started.  There are logos, flyers, activities and more. Get going! Your community is counting on you!

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