National Preparedness Month : Low Cost, No Cost Preparedness

By Ryan West

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: Low Cost, No Cost Preparedness.

Disaster preparedness can feel like a massive burden. By taking the time to prepare all-year round rather than right before a disaster strikes or during the time of year when disasters regularly occur in your community (such as hurricane or wildfire season), you can lessen the impact on your time and your wallet.

Beginning in January, do one or two preparedness activities every month. Make a list of everything that your household needs to do, and stick to a regular schedule. This will help make preparedness a regular part of your household’s routine, and alleviate the anxiety and stress surrounding preparedness right before an event. It also allows you to budget preparedness ahead of time.

There are numerous actions you can take year-round to prepare that are low or no cost. These include:

  • Set aside at least $10 a week in cash, and put it into an envelope in your emergency kit.
  • Purchase one or two items per month to complete your emergency kit.
  • Make physical or digital copies of your important documents (such as IDs, birth certificates, health records, insurance records, home ownership records, etc.).
  • Make a list of items on porches or outside of your home that need to be brought inside or secured before a disaster, and create a step by step plan to address them.
  • Keep your gutters regularly cleaned and secured.
  • Trim branches and clean up garbage around your property to prevent it from becoming projectiles in a wind-based disaster (such as a hurricane or tropical storm).
  • Contact churches or nonprofits in your area, and ask what preparedness resources they provide both before and after a disaster so that you know where you can go for services.

Talk to your neighbors and loved ones, and share your annual low cost or no cost preparedness plans. If you are part of a faith-based or community organization, get everyone in your group on the same preparedness calendar so that more people are prepared around you.

Don’t wait—Start preparing today! For more information, 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.