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eptember is the tenth annual observation of National Preparedness Month.

Fort Bragg will kick off National Preparedness Month with 10, emergency kit bag giveaways at the North Post Exchange on Sept. 4, from 9 to 10 a.m.

Set up and operate information booths on Sept. 4, 11, and 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fort Bragg is also sponsoring an art contest for students in grades 6 to 8.

For information on preparedness visit http://www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/

September was chosen as National Preparedness Month because the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, highlighted the importance of being prepared.

The goal of National Preparedness Month for Fort Bragg is to educate the community on ways to prepare for emergencies and disasters that could befall  the installation, from hurricanes to an active shooter, to household poisons at home, school, and workplace, by focusing on the four tenets of preparedness;

Be informed. Knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

Know the specific risks/hazards (and how to mitigate/recover from them) that are prone to the installation (for hazards that may affect the installation view http://www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/readybragg/Pages/default.aspx).

Know how the installation will notify personnel of a hazard.  Fort Bragg has several methods of mass notification.

Giant Voice

AM ALERT radio station, for those who are within range – AM1700

AM ALERT highway advisory signs

Commanders Channel (7) for Time Warner subscribers

Marquee/community bulletin boards

Social media

XVIII Airborne Corps webpage

Stay abreast of current situations via local radio and television stations, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, etc.

Make a Family emergency plan. Recognizing an impending hazard and knowing what to do to protect yourself and your Family will help to prepare beforehand and aid recovery after the event.

Your Family may not be together when an emergency strikes so it is important to plan in advance. How you will get to a safe place? How you will contact one another? How you will get back together? What you will do in different situations. When planning, consider individual needs and responsibilities based on the methods of communication, types of shelter and methods of transportation available. Other factors to keep in mind include:

Infants and young children

Senior Family members

Family members with special needs

Dietary needs

Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment

Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment

Language barriers

Cultural and religious considerations

Pets or service animals

Shelter locations

Build a Kit. Water, food, and articles needed to maintain your body temperature and provide protection against the elements are the most important items to include. Also, certain individuals require prescription medications to sustain their lives.

Consider creating two types of kits: one that has everything you will need if you are required to stay in your home and a smaller, lightweight version to take with you if you have to evacuate.

Both kits should include enough supplies to take care of your needs for at least three days.

Try to assemble the kit in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you.  You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them. You may need to survive on your own after an emergency.

While you make a plan to prepare your Family, also consider your Family pet. Assemble an animal emergency supply kit and develope a pet care buddy system.

Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.

If you evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind. Pets most likely cannot survive alone and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside.

Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days. Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer.

Get Involved.   Ask, “How can I help?”

Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies, empowering individuals to lend support is critical. There are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs.

One way is by joining a community emergency response team. CERT is a training program that prepares you in the event of a disaster.

As a member of a CERT team, you can respond to disasters, participate in drills and exercises, and take additional training.

Under the direction of the local emergency responders, CERT teams help provide critical support by giving immediate assistance to victims, providing damage assessment information, and organizing other volunteers at a disaster site.

CERT teams also offer a potential workforce for performing duties such as shelter support, crowd control and evacuation until trained emergency personnel arrive.

For more information on CERT, contact Marlin Scott at 309-9995.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities.

Since Sept., 11, 2001, the U.S. government has taken steps to encourage all citizens to make their own survival preparations.

So, this September, be informed and be prepared.