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National Preparedness Month – “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can”

With September being National Preparedness Month Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Emergency Management would like to provide a brief overview of the weekly themes associated with the campaign. Taking some time to engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, school, and place of worship can greatly improve your response when disaster strike.

Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends
Make an Emergency Plan.
Call a family meeting and discuss specific needs in your household. Share contact information and emergency numbers to place in your personal carry items, car, office, and disaster kits. Incorporating an evacuation plan into your Emergency Plan improves family reunification efforts. Designate a safe location to meet if a disaster requires you evacuate from your immediate area. Include how to get there and when to go there in your plan.
Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area.
Receiving information on events can greatly improve your readiness to respond to an emergency. Getting that information through your personal cell phones or landlines are a great way to receive information. Most cell phones already receive information through an Emergency Alert System or EAS; commonly known for the beeping sound followed by messaging.
Other tools utilized within Maricopa County include the Community Emergency Notification System or CENS; which is designed to rapidly notify an affected area of an emergency by sending a recorded message through the phone system. Registration is free and information related to the system can be found at https://www.maricopa.gov/1755/Community-Emergency-Notification-System.
Check your insurance coverage.
Review your current insurance policy; typically homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Understanding your insurance basics like what is covered in losses, what exclusions exist, and how property restoration fits into your plan is always a good start. Contact your insurance agent to obtain information related to these types of questions.

Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community
Learn skills to help yourself and others until help can arrive.
The first care an individual receives can be the difference between life and death. Mental preparation is the first step. Learning basic skills will position you to assist prior to arrival of first responders. Basic training information is available at https://community.fema.gov/until-help-arrives.
Check on your neighbors.
When the whole community comes together during a disaster the needs of everyone can often be met. Knowing each’s needs ahead of time, sharing resources, and increasing your network of support by checking on neighbors within your immediate area can greatly improve individual response and recovery to most events.

Practice and Build Our Your Plans
Participate in an emergency drill.
Upon completion of an individual plan it is always a good idea to test it. Emergency tdrills are the best way to put preparedness into practice. Drills help to make something instinctive and natural; having them reduces panic and fear and replaces it with a reflex for action.
Hold a drill within the home, business, or neighborhood to test capabilities. Working with local emergency response officials is another way to integrate drills within the community.
Know how to access community resources (e.g., shelters, food banks).
Communities provide resources to residents in need and often these resources go unused if people are unaware of how to access them. Understanding what resources are out there through outreach such as public schools, faith-based organizations, and other civic organizations can be beneficial to help families succeed when local government resources become strained during disasters.

Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger
Get your campus, business, faith-based organization and community organizations prepared for an emergency.
Efforts to bolster preparedness have been ever increasing within schools, churches, and other non-government organizations nationwide. Understanding and participating in those efforts increase community resiliency as we moved toward becoming a more prepared nation. Participating in other organizational efforts helps to expand your network of support as well as helps them to recovery quickly from disasters.
SRPMIC EM has several opportunities for community involvement and encourages anyone interested to take action. For more information about National Preparedness Month or to obtain additional resources related to the themes please feel free to visit www.ready.gov or contact SRPMIC Emergency Management at (480) 362-7929 or at Terry.Nelson@srpmic-nsn.gov.