In the past few years, Massachusetts has seen power outages, floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, blizzards and winter storms, tornados, terrorism, and more. There are a wide range of emergencies and disasters that can happen at any time, and it’s important to be prepared to ensure the safety of you and your family.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared September “National Emergency Preparedness Month” for the 10th straight year. And this year, Governor Deval Patrick has declared September as “emergency preparedness month” in Massachusetts. In an effort to educate residents and spread the message of the importance of preparing for emergencies, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) launched a pair of public information campaigns designed to help residents take simple, common-sense steps to better prepare themselves, their families, and communities for all types of emergencies.
Ready Massachusetts is MEMA’s campaign, designed to educate and empower residents to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural, technological, and man-made disasters. Information is also provided for individuals with disabilities, businesses, and regarding pets and animals. As the state’s counterpart to FEMA’s national Ready campaign, this initiative encourages people to remember four key things to prepare for emergencies:
- Be Informed – Know what emergencies may occur and stay informed. Information is available from a number of sources including cell phone alerts.
- Make a Plan – Plan for your family before an emergency. Establish meeting places and a communications plan, and know what to do if you need to evacuate.
- Build a Kit – Assemble an emergency kit that includes essential items such as bottled water, canned goods and nonperishable food items, and medical supplies.
- Get Involved–Consider volunteer opportunities in emergency preparedness and response.
Together We’re Ready is the DPH campaign to encourage Massachusetts residents, families, and communities to make plans and prepare for public health emergencies and severe weather, natural disasters or other emergent events. Similar to the MEMA campaign, Together We’re Ready focuses on four main things:
- Get Ready – Prepare yourself and your family for emergencies, such as signing up for emergency alerts.
- Get Involved – Learn how to volunteer and join in emergency response efforts.
- We’re All in this Together – Considerations for individuals with access and functional needs.
- Get Vaccinated – Prevent the flu by getting a flu shot.
As we recognize Emergency Preparedness Month, and with winter storm season on the horizon, now is a great time to take note of the important advice that DPH and MEMA provide through the Ready Massachusetts and Together We’re Ready campaigns. These small steps to prepare make a big difference and are essential in ensuring the safety of you and your family in the event of an emergency.