Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) designates the month of September as Disaster Preparedness Month. The idea is, I’m sure, to nudge would-be preppers to get off their couches and finally do something about preparedness.

Winter months are approaching, bringing with them news of blizzards, winter storms coming in off the Pacific, and even as I write this, Hurricane Florence is threatening the eastern seaboard. According to F.E.M.A.’s website (www.ready.gov), now is the time to take that CPR or first aid class. Also check your insurance policies and find out if you actually have the insurance coverage you’re going to need in the face of the disasters you might face like flood, earthquake or tornado. Additionally, now is a good time to start setting aside a little cash to cover the costs associated with an emergency. Besides, when disaster strikes, ATMs are usually disabled and all the money in your checking and savings account down at First National will do you no good. Only the cash you have on hand will be accessible and available for purchasing goods or services. What few items are usually available during emergencies. Likewise, now is a good time to review the process for shutting off water, natural gas and propane valves. And don’t forget to locate the right-size wrench in a handy location.

F.E.M.A. has designated a theme for each week of the month. Week 1: Make and practice your plan. Week 2: Learn Life Saving Skills Week 3: Check Your Coverage. Week 4: Save For an Emergency. For a more complete list of specific activities, go to http://www.ready.gov.

Following these simple themes each week will raise your preparedness level and make you more ready for whatever winter throws at you.

Here’s a new offering from F.E.M.A.: Text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) to receive preparedness tips on your phone. Keep in mind that standard messaging and data rates apply.

Likewise the Red Cross (www.redcross.org) has several suggestions for the month. Their focus is on evacuation and highlights of their list include the following: 1. Follow the instructions of the authorities when it comes to evacuating. They know more than you do. 2. Keep your gas tank topped off when you hear a storm is coming. After the power goes out it’s usually difficult to make gas pumps work. 3. Decide ahead of time where you are going to go. Either Aunt Tillie’s or just getting your RV to a safe place requires prior planning on your part. And don’t forget to give Aunt Tillie a call to let her in on your plan. 4. And lastly, don’t forget your pets. Pick up an extra sack of dog (or cat) food. Also get a one-gallon canteen, fill with water and include it in your plan. Pets need water too.

As always send your comments and questions to disasterprep.dave@gmail.com. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble, and other online booksellers. Or visit Dave’s blog here. 

Guest post by Dave Robinson. Posted with permission.