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Make the Month Matter

Five things you can do to make the most of National Preparedness Month

’ve always been extremely fond of September. Even as a kid, though I was sad to say goodbye to summer, I cherished the potential of a brand-new school year and the shiny new notebooks that came with it. When I entered the emergency management profession, I gained a new reason to love the ninth month of the year…it’s National Preparedness Month (NPM).

Since 2004, FEMA’s Ready Campaign has managed and sponsored NPM. This annual preparedness outreach initiative in September is intended to encourage and empower Americans to prepare for all kinds of disasters. Through their initiative, FEMA pushes out tons of great information, but then it’s up to us to actually do something with it.

Based on the intensity of our current disaster landscape, I’d say personal preparedness is reaching new heights on many people’s priority lists. So, today I am sharing my top five things you can do to make the most of National Preparedness Month:

(1) Explore Ready.Gov

If you’ve never checked it out, is a hub of great information and resources about disaster preparedness. There you can find information about all kinds of disasters with tips about what to do and how to prepare for each, along with fillable plan templates and general preparedness guides. Many of the resources available on the site are available in multiple lang

(2) Don’t just read it, be it

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Confucius

Taking concerted action is critical to our ability to go from 'informed to transformed.' Identify three specific actions you will take towards enhancing your own and/or your family’s preparedness during September. These actions can include planning efforts, buying specific supplies, or something as simple as signing up for emergency notifications to your cellphone. You don’t have to do everything suggested on to be prepared. Small efforts made over time can make a meaningful difference when it matters most.

(3) Pass it on

A key component of national preparedness is a collective commitment from all of us. While FEMA does a wonderful job pushing out information, we have the ability to expand the reach of that information exponentially. When you learn something new, discover an important tip, or take a preparedness action you think might help others, make a concerted effort to share it with a friend or neighbor. Of course, it’s not your job to convince others to do anything, but you never know how a simple conversation can sometimes inspire significant action.

(4) Give Back

Part of preparing for disasters is becoming aware of your risks and resources. In doing that assessment for ourselves, we often come to recognize the disparity that may exist between the resources available to us and those available to others. FEMA has some great ideas for how to give back and get involved, before, during, and after an emergency. Through these types of engagement, you stand to not only serve yourself and your family, but your neighbors and your community as a whole. Your initial commitment to preparedness can be the first drop in a massive ripple effect of resilience.

(5) Join the Ready for Real Challenge

This year, I am launching the Ready for Real Challenge in honor of National Preparedness Month in an effort to contribute to the collective resilience of our society. This FREE challenge is intended for anyone looking to invest in themselves, cultivate confidence in their own capabilities, and feel more secure about managing life's challenges. Going beyond the traditional natural disaster focus, the challenge reflects my unique approach to truly holistic resilience and readiness for everyday life, marrying self-discovery and mindfulness, with preparedness. Through an online forum, challengers will be able to interact and share ideas.

Participants who sign up on my website will receive access to exclusive resources that will help them get the most out of the challenge.

Sign up today for the Ready for Real Challenge! Follow along on Instagram, facebook, and linkedin.

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