This September will mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 and we ask you to take time to remember those lost as well as time to make sure you are prepared for future emergencies.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), which was founded after 9/11 to increase preparedness in the U.S. It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for an unexpected.

If you’ve seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We’ve seen tornado outbreaks, river floods and flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in cities affecting millions of people for days at a time.

This September, please prepare and make a plan in the event you must go three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these

1. Get a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care – water, non-perishable food (like canned or dry foods), first aid kit, prescriptions, flashlight/extra batteries, battery-powered radio, blankets, wipes, baby supplies, etc. – for a checklist of supplies visit ready.gov.

2. Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see www.ready.gov. Work together with neighbors, colleagues and others to build community resilience.

3. Be Informed: Free information is available to assist you from federal, state, local and tribal resources. You can find preparedness information by: Accessing Ready.gov to learn what to do before, during and after an emergency; Contacting your local emergency management agency to get essential information on specific hazards to your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up for emergency alerts if they are available; Contacting your local fire department and asking for information about preparedness.

Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly, such as if trees and power lines are down or if they are overwhelmed by demand from an emergency. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.

As FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate reminds us, “Individuals and families are the most important members of the nation’s emergency management team. Being prepared can save precious time if there is a need to respond to an emergency.”

For more information on National Preparedness Month and for help getting prepared, visit www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY.

This article was provided to you by the staff at Central Michigan District Health Department which serves the residents in Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon Counties. Visit their website at cmdhd.org