When it comes to emergency planning, the best offense is a good defense. Earlier this month, Gov. Doug Ducey proclaimed September Arizona Preparedness Month to encourage families and businesses to mitigate against and prepare for emergencies. Arizona Preparedness Month focuses on planning with an overarching theme: “Disasters happen. Prepare now. Learn how.”
“Arizona experiences brutal wildfires, devastating floods, and even damaging winter storms,” said Wendy Smith-Reeve, Arizona Department of Military Affairs (DEMA) deputy director. “We are not immune to disastrous events. We must prepare for them and take steps to reduce the risk.”
How does Arizona prepare? Emergency preparedness is a team sport. DEMA works year-round to reduce the impact of emergencies and disasters on people, property and the environment, but this cannot be done alone. The agency works with every member of the community - from government and families to voluntary organizations and corporations. In that way, preparedness, prevention, response, recovery and mitigation becomes everyone’s job.
“No single organization or jurisdiction has enough staff, funding and equipment to respond to and recovery from a large disaster on its own. When the Whole Community works in concert with one another and shares resources, we can meet any challenge that comes our way,” Smith-Reeve said.
What can you do to keep your family safe? A lot! DEMA emphasizes these four steps of preparedness:
- Plan: Write and rehearse a Family Communication Plan that includes an out-of-town contact, evacuation route and meeting place.
- Prepare: Build an emergency supplies kit with enough food, water and daily medication(s) to last at least three days. Don’t forget the unique needs of your family, including your pets. Create a smaller, travel-sized kit that you can take in the event of an evacuation.
- Inquire: Be informed of local hazards and emergency plans at your work and your child’s school. Contact your local emergency management office and sign up to receive emergency notifications. Go to EIN.az.gov and enter your address in the hazard viewer to learn about hazards in your area.
- Inspire: Be a positive preparedness example for others in your community. Give blood, do a fire drill at home, or take a first aid course and invite others to be part of a whole community effort.
Be an inspiration and put your chef’s hat on for the Emergency Kit Cook-Off! This year’s “fall fitness” challenge asks you to submit a fall recipe with a fitness twist, using non-perishable ingredients that could be found in an emergency supplies kit. Use one of our featured ingredients to create a delicious, healthy recipe to fuel fall fitness: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, nuts, canned pumpkin, canned or dried apple, or canned squash. For more information and to submit your recipe, visit emergencykitcookoff.org.