National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month.  National Preparedness Month was first declared in 2004 and is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help the general public prepare for and respond to natural disasters and terrorist attacks.  The 2018 theme is:  Disasters Happen.  Prepare Now.  Know How.

Governor Edmund G. Brown has also proclaimed September as National Preparedness Month in California.  According to the California proclamation, “The next emergency is always just around the corner, and preparedness can mean the difference between inconvenience and tragedy.”

In the Resources section of this website there is wildfire preparedness and safety information, including  family emergency communications planning, safeguarding critical documents and valuables in case of an emergency, evacuations, and how to prepare for other emergencies, such as flooding, winter storms, or extreme heat.

Following are some preparedness tips from FEMA.

General Preparedness:

  • Make a family emergency communication plan.
  • Identify an out-of-town emergency contact to coordinate information with family and friends.
  • Get to know neighbors and check on them during emergencies.
  • Keep copies of important documents in a secure place (digital or waterproof/fireproof location).
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Create a rainy day emergency savings fund and keep cash on hand for emergencies.

Financial Preparedness:

  • Plan for out-of-pocket expenses for lodging, food, gas, etc.
  • Review your insurance policies and update your coverage  if necessary.
  • Be prepared for the cost of deductibles for insurance and medical co-pays.

Life Safety Skills:

  • Practice preparedness plans with a drill or exercise.
  • Take a first aid class to be able to help until first responders arrive.
  • Know how to shut off the utilities where you live.
  • Know all emergency exits where you live , work, and often visit.


  • Never drive or walk through flooded streets: Turn Around.  Don’t Drown.
  • Check your flood insurance policy to ensure you have appropriate coverage.

Fire Safety:

  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and test them monthly.
  • Know two ways out of every room in your home.
  • Create a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
  • Identify a meeting place outside your home for your family and everyone who lives with you.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

Power Outage:

  • Have alternative charging devices for phones or anything else that requires power.
  • Generators should always be used outside the home.  Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when a generator is not working or not vented properly.


  • Practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”
  • Anchor loose items to a secure wall in your home.
  • Text, don’t call.

Winter Storm and Extreme Cold:

  • Stay off the road during and after a storm.
  • Extreme cold can be deadly.  Stay inside where it is warm and bring pets indoors.
  • Wear warm clothes in layers and change activities to stay safe.
  • Use space heaters safely.
  • Ensure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.

Holiday Safety:

  • Prepare for unpredictable weather before traveling.
  • Water the Christmas tree and turn off holiday lights overnight and when away to reduce the risk of a fire.
  • Keep candles away from flammable items.  Use battery powered candles.

Extreme Heat:

  • Extreme heat can be deadly.  Stay inside where it is cool.
  • Wear cool clothes and change activities to stay safe.
  • Never leave children, the elderly, or pets in a car.

Wildfire Safety:

  • If you see a wildfire report it.  You may be the first to see it.
  • Wildfires can kill.  If ordered to evacuate do so, know the evacuation route, and plan where to go.
  • Remove debris and flammable materials close to your home.

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