'Preparedness Month' a year-round responsibility
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- With September designated as National Preparedness Month, Air Force Emergency Management experts are emphasizing the tools available to help Airmen and their families "Be Ready."
National Preparedness Month is an annual campaign to raise awareness on the importance of disaster preparedness. The event was instituted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security a year after the devastating events of 9/ll.
With a theme of "Pledge to Prepare: Awareness to Action," the goal of this year's commemoration is to encourage all Americans to take specific steps to be prepared for all kinds of disasters and emergencies.
The message of personal readiness is one that Airmen should heed year round, according to Air Force emergency managers.
"National Preparedness Month is a FEMA-sponsored event," said Mike Connors, the Air Force emergency manager. "The Air Force has its 'Be Ready' initiative, which is a year-round campaign that dovetails nicely into that. Between the two campaigns, it helps raise awareness and prompts people to take action to be prepared for whatever the threat."
Air Force emergency managers are trained to support base communities by preventing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies. This includes educating base members on what to do if they encounter a hazard, whether it's a natural disaster or man-made incident such as a major accident or terrorist attack.
"One of the first things Airmen should know is where their installation's emergency management office is," Connors said. "The installation emergency management office is the place to go for emergency information. The EM staff has the expertise to provide you the knowledge and materials you need to be prepared."
Emergency managers recommend some basic steps Airmen should take now that could make a big difference in the event of a disaster.
"Three things that we constantly stress to our Airmen is (to) get a kit, make a plan and be prepared," said Master Sgt. Ernie Rude, NCO in charge for Air Force emergency management integration. "If every Airman will take these steps, effects from disasters can be minimized and lives can be saved."
Rude said there is a comprehensive set of resources available on the Air Force's "Be Ready" website.
"This site is available to the public and offers checklists that can assist users in properly planning for whatever contingency arises. There is even a 'Be Ready Kids' section where you can download activity sheets to help educate younger family members," he said.
For more information and resources to help prepare for any disaster, Air Force members should contact their installation emergency management office or visit http://www.BeReady.af.mil.