September is National Preparedness Month
Last updated 9/9/2020 at 3:31pm
The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management for the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County kicked off September as National Preparedness Month (NPM).
Sponsored by the National Ready Campaign, this year's NPM promotes family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. As the nation continues to respond to COVID-19, there is no better time to be involved this September.
Throughout the month of September, the above-listed organizations are promoting preparedness themes to the community through social media and media engagement. The campaign will focus on different themes each week.
Week 1 - September 1-5: Make A Plan
Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control recommendations due to the coronavirus.
Talk with family members about your emergency plan. Discuss how you will stay in touch when disaster strikes and review CDC recommendations during COVID-19.
Tailor your plan to specific needs in your house. Consider:
Disabilities and older adults
Children and pets
Create a budget that includes an emergency savings fund.
Week 2 - Sept. 6-12: Build A Kit
Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don't forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control.
Ensure your kit is stocked with essential items, including what is needed to protect you and your family from COVID-19.
Consider the unique needs of your family (example: families with infants should include formula, diapers and bottles).
Have enough supplies for several days and store items in airtight containers.
Help individuals with disabilities prepare for disasters.
Week 3 - Sept. 13-19: Prepare for Disasters
Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.
The CDC has published a #PrepYourHealth Digital Media Toolkit with suggestions on how people can create a community before a disaster or emergency.
Sign up for emergency alerts so that during a disaster or emergency you receive immediate life-saving information from your state and local municipality.
If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, consider making improvements to your building to fix structural issues that could cause your building to collapse during an earthquake.
If you live in an area prone to wildfires, create a defensive space around your home by clearing debris or articles that could easily fuel the flames.
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, install shutters for all your windows.
If your area is prone to flooding, keep important documents in a waterproof container. Also, protect your property by purchasing flood insurance.
Week 4 - Sept. 20-26: Teach Youth About Preparedness
Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.
Youth are an important part of building a national culture of preparedness; children under the age of 18 make up nearly one-quarter of the entire U.S. population.
Promote good financial saving practices by providing clear steps to saving, budgeting, setting and meeting financial goals.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has additional resources online to teach youth financial capability.
Check out the Ready Kids website for tips on how to prepare your entire family, and see many more tips for various situations at ready.gov.
The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management is responsible for providing mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and coordination for large-scale emergencies and disasters, both natural and human-caused, to residents of El Paso County and Colorado Springs for the purpose of saving lives and preventing property damage.
For more tips, visit ready.gov.
Airport holds emergency exercise
More than 80 people from responding agencies throughout the region participated in mass casualty exercise last week at the Colorado Springs Airport. Crews extinguished a staged aircraft fire and rescued "passengers" from an aircraft as they tested their communications and procedures for responding to a simulated aircraft emergency.
The exercise, which was originally scheduled for May, was postponed due to COVID-19. A key aspect of managing airport operations during a global pandemic is being ready to respond to an emergency regardless of the conditions. Because disasters won't wait for a pandemic to end, several agencies in the region came together to hone their response skills with a few minor changes to the drill to accommodate for social distancing. Although some of the aspects of the exercise were modified to protect participants, crews were faced with a realistic scenario that required quick action, coordination with multiple responders and agencies as they practiced working in a new environment.
The COS Airport, Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, Colorado Springs Fire Department and several agencies across the Pikes Peak Region participated in the emergency drill.
In accordance with Federal Aviation Agency requirements, the airport conducts a full-scale emergency exercise every three years to ensure responders keep their skills and coordination efforts at the ready in the event they had to respond to a real aircraft emergency. The last airport exercise was conducted in 2017.