Here’s to Your Health During National Preparedness Month

Do you remember when preparedness was pretty much just our thing?

I recall it very well. It wasn’t all that long ago. At the time, only a relatively small number of people prepared for an uncertain future. 

We took a lot of criticism back then. We were called crazy, alarmists, fearmongers and a few unprintable names.

And organizations such as FEMA told Americans they’d be taken care of if an emergency situation arose. 

It’s a Whole New Ballgame

How things have changed. In just the past decade, extreme weather has gotten worse. Natural and manmade disasters have increased. Civil unrest has intensified. And we’ve had a global pandemic.

As a result, preparedness has gone mainstream. Now everyone knows it pays to prepare for the variety of crises that could occur. Even if they’re not doing it, they know they should. 

And FEMA no longer pretends they can handle emergencies in a timely manner. In fact, they’ve become a cheerleader for personal preparedness. is a government website that goes into great detail about individual preparedness. Such as things people can do to take care of themselves when a disaster strikes.

A Nice Reminder to Prepare

Tomorrow is the start of National Preparedness Month. Sponsored by FEMA, its purpose is to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies.

Notice they no longer tell us to depend on them. They’ll respond the best they can. But with limited funds, resources and manpower, they realize they can’t do an adequate job.

The folks at FEMA may not share our passion for independence and self-sufficiency. But they now recognize problems have become too large. And that individuals need to look out for themselves.

So, kudos to them for establishing September as National Preparedness Month. It can serve as a reminder to us to make sure we’re ready for whatever life throws at us. 

Food, Power and Water Needs 

Much of the talk around preparedness often centers on survival food. Plus generators and water purifications products. They are essential for handling food supply chain disruptions. As well as power outages and water contamination.

The lack of nutritious food can also cause you to fall ill during an emergency. Store shelves empty quickly when food supply chains break down. Having a good supply of survival food will see you through. 

It’s pretty much a given that a power outage will occur during a disaster. Every year, Americans get sick or die from the toxic fumes of gas-powered generators. The answer is a fume-free solar-powered generator that can be safely used indoors.

Water contamination is another thing that can get you sick or worse during a crisis. Make sure you have ways to purify your tap water and any water you source from outside. 

‘An Overlooked Part of the Process’

But what I really want to focus on in the remaining space is the importance of staying healthy. BEFORE an emergency occurs. Remaining in good health is important year-round. But it’s crucial during a crisis.

We need to be at the top of our game health-wise. That way we can be more effective in dealing with situations that could otherwise throw us for a loop.

The CDC calls protecting our health during a disaster or emergency an “often overlooked part of the preparedness process.”

They recommend gathering enough supplies – including health-related products – to last at least three days. And creating a family emergency plan.

They also suggest frequent hand-washing and staying connected with family, friends and caregivers. As well as practicing ways to remain calm in a crisis. And finding reliable sources for health and emergency information.

Emergency Action Plan

The emergency action plan should be reviewed every six months or so. It should include:

  • Collecting phone numbers for physicians, pharmacies, veterinarians and out-of-town contacts. As well as the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222). And the Animal Poison Control Helpline (888-426-4435). 
  • Gathering and protecting important documents. Including health, home and vehicle insurance information. Plus identification items, living wills and power of attorney forms.
  • Identifying a shelter-in-place location inside your home. This should include a sick room to isolate infected family members. And identifying emergency meeting places outside the home.
  • Identifying animal boarding facilities and hospitals for pets. You may need to lodge them temporarily in an evacuation.
  • Knowing your employer’s and school’s emergency plans.

Prevention Is the Best Medicine

As far as yours and your family members’ health is concerned, prevention is the best medicine.

We all know what this means. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid unhealthy foods and risky behavior. Get plenty of sleep.

Also, prepare by building a comprehensive first-aid kit. Including over-the-counter medicines you may need. Ask your doctor if you can get a three-month supply of prescription meds.

Finally, learn practical skills while you have time. Such as basic first-aid techniques and CPR.

Let’s all use National Preparedness Month to make sure we’re as healthy as possible. And ready to face whatever future emergency arises.  

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John - May 12, 2024


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