Recognizing National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month — an opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies.
As you may know, National Preparedness Month falls right in the middle of hurricane season. Just this week, we saw Hurricane Idalia leave many communities in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas with severe flooding and power outages. As climate change continues to fuel more frequent and damaging disasters, like hurricanes or even the wildfires seen in Maui, it is more important than ever for communities to have the necessary supplies and emergency preparedness plans in place when disasters strike.
In July, I had the pleasure of joining Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell and other officials in Sussex County to highlight the ways in which Delawareans can better prepare themselves, their homes and their families for severe weather this hurricane season. Here are just a few of the vital tips I want to share with you:
- Know your flood risk. Are you in a flood zone? Find out at de.gov/floodrisk. If so, you might be asked to evacuate in advance of a severe weather event. Know what the evacuation plan will be by checking the DelDOT State Evacuation Routes.
- Know how you will receive emergency alerts. Delaware’s primary system for public warnings and emergency alerts, the Delaware Emergency Notification System (DENS) allows local 911 centers or emergency managers to send messages directly to residents affected by an event — but only if you’re registered. Visit PrepareDE.org for more information.
- Take family members with access and functional needs into account. For people with disabilities and their families, it is important to consider individual circumstances and needs to effectively prepare for emergencies and disasters. Ready.gov/disability has additional resources to help in these planning considerations.
- Build your emergency supply kit over time, starting with items you may already have in your home — like a flashlight, extra batteries, copies of important documents, water and non-perishable food.
It’s also important to remember that repairing and rebuilding after disasters isn’t enough to protect vulnerable communities — we must also invest in climate change mitigation.
Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we are doing just that. The critical investments in these laws are helping build sustainable, resilient infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather.
Even though we are making significant progress, we must continue our efforts to preserve our one and only planet and ensure the safety of our most vulnerable when disasters strike. So, this National Preparedness Month, I hope all of you will take a few minutes to ensure you and your loved ones are better prepared for disasters and emergencies!