top of page

National Preparedness Month 2020: How to Prepare for Disasters During COVID-19 Coronavirus

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

The COVID-19 coronavirus has been an unprecedented public health crisis, but the pandemic has also taught us that disasters don’t stop, not even for a national health crisis. The 2020 National Preparedness Month theme is: Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today, that’s why it’s more important than ever to be prepared for natural disasters and emergencies.


September is National Preparedness Month, and our emergency preparedness experts are sharing tips for staying safe during a disaster:


How to Evacuate with Advanced Warning

  • Make an emergency plan based on the disasters that are likely to happen in your region.

  • Build an emergency kit based on the needs identified in your emergency plan.

  • Include copies of essential documents in the kit and store a second set of copies online or in the cloud.

  • If you live in an area where a disaster is likely, perform regular maintenance on your house, so there is less to do during a disaster.

  • Make sure to have a full tank of gas, if an evacuation seems likely.

  • Check your car seats regularly so that they are safely fastened in the event of an emergency.

  • Consider what technology to pack: personal computers, hard drives, cell phones, and a solar-powered cell phone charger.

  • Have any necessary pet items in a known place and ready to go in an emergency.

  • Practice your emergency plan. Remember, preparedness is key!

prepare, preparedness, national preparedness month, preparedness month, disasters, emergencies, natural disaster, emergency, natural disasters, safety, prepare for, respond to, recover from, emergency preparedness, emergency kit, children, child care, child care provider, daycare, preschool, school, school preparedness, family, families, evacuate, go-bag, go kit, emergency kit, emergency bag

How to Prepare For, Respond to, and Recover From Emergencies and Disasters

Each week in September is dedicated to teaching families specific ways they can prepare for emergencies and disasters. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chairwoman, Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, says, “I am so proud to again join FEMA during National Preparedness Month to encourage all Americans in preparing for the impacts of unexpected disasters and emergencies during a pandemic. We have already seen a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season this year with thirteen storms formed before peak season begins in September, in addition to the devastating fires burning across the western United States and flooding in the east. The potential for sustained severe and devastating extreme weather is very concerning especially as it can exacerbate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. It is crucial that families and communities make a plan and prepare for disasters and emergencies before they happen.”


Week 1: Make a Plan

Work on your preparedness plan as a family so that everyone knows what to do in the case of an emergency. Also, give yourself extra time to order items you may need online.


Week 2: Build a Kit

prepare, preparedness, national preparedness month, preparedness month, disasters, emergencies, natural disaster, emergency, natural disasters, safety, prepare for, respond to, recover from, emergency preparedness, emergency kit, children, child care, child care provider, daycare, preschool, school, school preparedness, family, families, evacuate, go-bag, go kit, emergency kit, emergency bag

Make a go-bag in advance, and do not forget to include PPE, disinfectants, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and any supplies needed for COVID-19 coronavirus.


Week 3: Prepare for Disasters

prepare, preparedness, national preparedness month, preparedness month, disasters, emergencies, natural disaster, emergency, natural disasters, safety, prepare for, respond to, recover from, emergency preparedness, emergency kit, children, child care, child care provider, daycare, preschool, school, school preparedness, family, families, evacuate, go-bag, go kit, emergency kit, emergency bag

In anticipation of a storm, board up your windows, surround your home with sandbags to prevent flooding, and tie down loose patio furniture and play equipment.


Week 4: Teach Youth About Preparedness

Set aside time to talk to children and to prepare them for emergencies. Download our social stories to teach children about emergency preparedness in an age-appropriate, calm, and friendly manner.


Register for Weather the Storm: Emergency Preparedness & Resiliency Building Festival

We’re proud to sponsor the 1st ever Weather the Storm: SW DC Disaster Preparedness Festival. This festival is a virtual live-stream event on September 24 and 25, 2020. This 2-day event will be filled with informative workshops, music, and more!