Even though I have been involved in emergency preparedness in a professional capacity for more than a decade, I still dedicate the month of September to make it personal and talk with my family and friends about emergency planning. One approach is to discuss what you would do in certain scenarios.

What would you do if…?
What would you do if there were a cyber-attack and none of the traffic lights worked? What would you do if a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado or earthquake, hit your town? What should you do if there is a fire in your home?

September is recognised as National Preparedness Month in the United States. As a resident of Florida, this is great timing because it’s still active hurricane season. Everyone thinks that an emergency situation won’t happen to them…until it does.

Did you know that emergency preparedness could save your life?
My family and I always schedule a dinner during the first week of September to talk about our family emergency communications plan. There are some excellent resources for both adults and children available. Our conversation includes deciding on a reunification spot and discussing exits in case of a fire or other emergency. We make sure our children know our phone numbers and other important contacts by memory. This is especially important now that so many people rely solely on cell phones.

I also take the time each September to prepare our emergency supply kit. I include enough water and food to last for at least 72 hours, along with a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and a first aid kit. When creating yours, remember to also include any prescription medicines that you or your family may need. Keep emergency supply kits in your home and your vehicles.

Start the conversation
As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reminds us, 'Don’t wait, communicate.'
There are several ways that you can use the month of September to be more prepared. Encourage your family and friends to think about what they would do in case of an emergency. Encourage your kids and neighbours to become involved in the conversation about emergency subjects in advance so everyone’s prepared. Or follow my example and dedicate a family dinner this week to come up with your emergency plan. And don’t forget to prepare your emergency supply kit.