National Preparedness Month : Make a Plan

By Ryan West
National Preparedness Month Week 1 : Make a Plan

September is National Hurricane Preparedness Month, and this year’s theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”

Every week in September, we will be sharing information demonstrating how individual and household preparedness can make a difference in your community. This week’s topic is: Make a Plan.

An emergency plan is a detailed, written plan describing what you and the members of your household will do in the event of an emergency, where you’ll go if you cannot shelter in place or if your home becomes compromised, and establishes a method of communication with your loved ones.

The act of writing an emergency plan down and talking through it out loud with the members of your household can give your loved ones a greater sense of control, and can help manage any fear and anxiety they may have about potential disasters.

After finalizing your sheltering and backup sheltering plan with your household, inform your neighbors and loved ones who live in the same community about your plan. This saves valuable time for first responders who are checking on people after a disaster, and gives your local loved ones peace of mind that you will be safe.

Call your loved ones outside of your community, and let them know what your emergency plan is. Appoint one person who lives outside of your community to be your post-disaster Point of Contact (POC). 

Give your POC a list of all of your other loved ones who live outside of your community, and their phone numbers. Put your POC in charge of calling everyone on the list to let them know that you are safe after a disaster. That way, you only need to make one phone call to your POC after a disaster. This will save time, resources, and cellphone battery if there is prolonged power loss or damage to communication services.

Having an emergency plan is critical to ensuring that your family is more prepared for potential disasters. The more prepared that your household is, the less reliant on post-disaster services you will be. Your time and energy can be spent helping others once your post-disaster circumstances have stabilized. 

Don’t wait—Start preparing today! For more information on how to create a written emergency plan, including downloadable plan templates, videos, and activities to get children involved in the preparation process, visit For up to date, reliable forecasts, visit the National Hurricane Center website. For Virgin Islands specific alerts, watches, and warnings, visit VITEMA’s website, or sign up for AlertVI.