It’s September, are you ready?

No, we don’t mean ready for the end of summer. Nor for the flurry of holidays just around the corner. We mean are you ready for an emergency?

September is National Preparedness Month. According to FEMA, 83 percent of Americans do not consider themselves prepared for an emergency. So what is it that we’re waiting for? Emergencies and disasters can happen anytime and anywhere,  with little to no warning. But there are actions every family can take to be better prepared to face them.

It may be overwhelming to begin preparing for an emergency, so start by answering the question, “does your family know what to do during a disaster?” If the answer is no, then it’s time for a chat.

Make a family emergency plan with your loved ones and discuss how you will communicate during a disaster whether you are all together or in different locations at the time. Determine a family meeting spot in the event you are separated. Put together a list of emergency contacts both in and out of town. Keep a list of important information together, such as contact information for doctors and medications per family member, homeowner and rental policy information as well as a contact person. For tips and information on preparing your family emergency plan, click here.

After you’ve discussed and documented important information for each family member, start putting an emergency kit or a “go-bag” together  with essential items. FEMA recommends enough supplies to make it through three days on your own. When gathering water, remember you’ll need a gallon of water per person per day. Include tools and supplies for securing your home like duct tape and plastic sheeting. Get more ideas for recommended emergency supplies here.

Once you’ve put in the work towards being prepared, make a habit of staying informed. Download emergency notice apps like the free Red Cross mobile emergency apps, or  sign-up for “Alert SCC,” the free Santa Clara County emergency alert system, and get  warnings to your phone and email. Follow the water district on Facebook and Twitter for tips on emergency preparedness and being flood safe.

As the flood protection agency for the county, the Santa Clara Valley Water wants you to prepare as much as possible for the threat of flooding, as well as other hazards. The first step to being flood safe is being emergency ready.

So even if you’re busy this month getting the kids back into their school routine, or if you have a last minute vacation planned before bidding summer adieu, put some time aside to prepare. You won’t regret it.

Download this family emergency plan template to get a head start.

Keep your eyes out for the water district’s emergency preparedness social media contest coming soon this month to see how you can win an emergency radio with weather alert and built-in smart phone charger.

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