September 7, 2011 - 11:13 am
By Jamie Barnett | Chief, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau


The National Preparedness Month, is an awareness campaign that occurs during the month of September, to bring awareness to the preparations necessary before, during, and after a natural or man-made disaster.  With the recent Virginia earthquake and Hurricane Irene hitting so close to home, this is a perfect opportunity for everyone to better prepare their families and communities for ALL hazards.  This year’s theme, “A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare.” is in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001.  To learn how to get more involved in your community, visit FEMA’s website to connect to additional resources that may be helpful in your preparations.

The 5.8 magnitude Virginia earthquake that struck on August 23rd was the largest in the region since 1875, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  Although infrequent, earthquakes can strike anywhere and at anytime.  The USGS website has FAQs and preparedness materials along with links to various organizations that can serve as a additional resources. 

Days later, Hurricane Irene swept through the entire eastern seaboard of the U.S., causing over 50 deaths along with approximately $7 billion in estimated damages.  With advanced notice, over 65 million residents along the east coast were able to prepare, and evacuate, prior to the actual event.  The early warning and  preparation undoubtedly saved lives.  The National Weather Service has a Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide that contains information regarding different forms of hurricane hazards and how to prepare for them.

A common theme among these and other disasters is that everyone wants to communicate with their loved ones immediately after, which causes network failures and systems to overload.  Last week, the Chairman shared some tips for how to communicate during an emergency which should serve as a guide.

This September, let’s take time to remember and prepare for any and all disasters that may befall upon us so that we remain safe.