AUSTIN (KXAN) — September is National Preparedness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, wants you to pay attention. The month is meant to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for an emergency.
Meteorologist Nick Bannin spoke with Lea Crager, FEMA’s Ready Campaign Director, about the month and what you should do to prepare before severe weather season.
NICK BANNIN, METEOROLOGIST: How do you get people to actually prepare for natural disasters and not procrastinate?
LEA CRAGER, FEMA: You know, that is why we have National Preparedness Month. It is literally our time to tell people, take that time, have conversations with your family, see what you need to do to get prepared.
It’s something that’s so easy to put off and not do. It’s such a major change for people this time of year. So it’s the perfect time to really take an inventory and see what you need to do.
BANNIN: Here in Central Texas. We’re specifically in Austin. Flash flooding is one of our greatest concerns, although we do get other types of severe weather in winter weather as well. How can people most prepare for the types of weather we get here?
CRAGER: You know, the easiest thing is make sure you can get alerts. We really don’t ever know what’s going to happen. And it can be even a simple car accident, something that happens in your neighborhood.
You can access where you live, be able to get alerts, you can download the FEMA app or make sure you’ve got a way to get alerts from your local officials or your local emergency managers. That’s most important.
BANNIN: At a more basic level, what should people do when they’re preparing for disaster?
CRAGER: First thing, most important thing after getting those alerts is have those conversations with your family members, especially your younger family members. Every parent thinks they’re going to be with their child when something happens, or they’re going to be able to get to their child’s school.
We know all too well. Things happen when you’re separated from your family members, and you may not be able to get back to them.
You want to have conversations doesn’t cost anything. And this year, we’re trying to make that easier than ever, you can go to ready.gov/plan. There’s a fillable form in both English and Spanish. You can do it on your phone or a laptop, be able to save it on your smartphone or email it to another family member.
It’s how your child knows if you are separated. If you can’t get in contact with them, who they should contact, and they’ll feel more prepared before those instances start.