Mandatory evacuations. Flooding. Widespread power outages. If you're still hemming and hawing about creating an emergency kit or assembling a family emergency plan, the recent arrival of Hurricane Gustav should serve as a not-so-friendly reminder.
The good news is there's no time like the present to start planning. And what better time to begin than National Preparedness Month?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign is sponsoring the fifth annual National Preparedness Month to educate the public about the importance of preparing for a public health emergency.
National, regional, state and local organizations will organize activities throughout September to encourage all Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies and ask themselves, "Am I ready?" Among those marking the month is APHA, which is holding its second annual Get Ready Day Sept. 16.
The Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps are suggesting everyone start by making an emergency kit and a family preparedness plan; learn more about possible emergency situations at home, at work, at school and in the community; and become more involved community preparedness activities.
For some ideas about how you can get started on your emergency kit and stockpile, visit APHA's Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks Web pages. For a complete list of events during National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov.
Even though Gustav is on its way out, storms Hannah and Ike are on the horizon. Take the time now to prepare for all emergencies.