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!

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

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

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!

This event is FREE! Register today: Click Here!

New Emergency Preparedness Book for Early Childhood Professionals

Our Executive Director, Andrew Roszak, recently authored the second book in the Preparing for the Unexpected Series: Preschool Preparedness for an Emergency. This book is available for pre-order and will be released in December 2020. Gryphon House Publishing says, “Storms, flooding, earthquakes, epidemics, tornadoes, fire. You hope it never happens, but you know you need to be ready. Preschool Preparedness for an Emergency, the second book in the Preparing for the Unexpected Series, will train you for a worst-case scenario.”

Andrew’s new book will help prepare readers for emergencies and natural disasters. Childhood professionals will learn how to:

  • Reduce potential harm or damage

  • Develop and test emergency action plans

  • Empower staff to respond effectively

  • Satisfy licensing and other regulatory requirements

  • Act quickly to protect lives and property

  • Make families more prepared

  • Develop relationships with local emergency-response organizations

  • Limit the amount of time your business is closed

  • Pick up the pieces and return to normal

To find out more, and to pre-order a copy, visit Gryphon House Publishing.

The Institute for Childhood Preparedness works hard every day to ensure childhood programs’ safety and security across the United States. Our emergency preparedness training is available through our new hybrid training model: online training courses followed by in-person practical training. Schedule hybrid training today: Click here!

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