Preparedness is everyone's job. Not just government agencies but all sectors of society-- service providers, businesses, civic and volunteer groups, industry associations and neighborhood associations, as well as every individual citizen--should plan ahead for disaster. As such, preparedness programs are developed to target each of these audiences in order to educate, promote and test preparedness.
One of these public education programs is The Community and Family Preparedness Program operated by FEMA that educates the general public about disaster awareness and preparedness. The core message of the Community and Family Preparedness Program is the Family Disaster Plan -- four basic steps people can take to prepare for any type of disaster.
- Step 1. Find out what types of disasters are most likely to occur in your community and how to prepare for them. Contacting your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for information and guidelines is a good way to get started.
- Step 2. Create a family Disaster Plan. Hold a family meeting to talk about the steps they'll take to be ready when disaster happens in their community.
- Step 3. Take action. Each family member, regardless of age, can be responsible for helping the family be prepared. Activities can include posting emergency telephone numbers, installing smoke detectors, determining escape routes, assembling disaster supply kits and taking first aid or CPR courses.
- Step 4. Practice and maintain the plan. The final step emphasizes the need to practice the plan on a regular basis so family members will remember what to do when disaster strikes.
As just one of the many preparedness programs sponsored FEMA and other public and private disaster response and emergency management organizations, the Community and Family Preparedness Program highlights the foundation of a disaster program applicable to a wide range of disasters. Many more programs look specifically at preparedness regarding one type of disaster and can be obtained through agencies such as FEMA, the American Red Cross, and your state and local offices of emergency management.