Preparedness consists of all activities taken prior to the onset of an emergency to prepare for the eventual response to and recovery from an emergency. While mitigation and prevention actions may reduce the impact of hazards in a community, these actions do not eliminate risk associated with all hazards. Preparedness activities increase the resilience of the community.
Five steps to resilience are: Explore Hazards, Asses Vulnerability and Risks, Investigate Options, Prioritize and Plan, Take Action.
The goal of community preparedness efforts is to prepare individuals and families should to survive for a minimum of 72 hours before the restoration of essential services, such as the distribution of water, food, and emergency supplies.
Your family may not be together or even at home when disaster strikes. It's important to know what types of disasters may affect your area. It's also important to know how you will communicate during an emergency and how you will reconnect or meet up if separated. Follow the steps below to create an emergency plan.
Your own emergency preparedness kit will depend on your specific needs. Once you've assembled basic items, consider what unique needs your family or household might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors. Use this list to get started:
Download and fill out a family emergency plan from FEMA or contact Vermont National Guard Family Programs or the Vermont Army National Guard emergency program management coordinator for hard copies.
Ready.gov - Emergency Plan for Parents
Practicing your emergency plan ensures you'll be prepared to execute it in the event of an actual emergency.
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Make sure your kit is stocked with the items below. Most are inexpensive and may help save your life. Once you've looked at the basic items, consider your family's unique needs, such as supplies for pets or seniors.
Preparing Pets for Disasters
Emergency Supply Kit Checklist (.pdf)
Since the spring of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended additional items for emergency preparedness kits to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, influenza, and other viruses. Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:
After assembling your kit, be sure to maintain it so it's ready when needed.
Because you don't know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for your home, your workplace, and your vehicles:
Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is stored.
Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water, and other necessities such as medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a "grab and go" case.
Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your vehicle, including jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, an ice scraper, cell phone charger, blanket, local maps, and cat litter or sand for tire traction.
Disasters, whether natural or human-caused, are often unpredictable and can happen at any time and to anyone. Disasters are defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an occurrence that has resulted in property damage, deaths, and/or injuries to a community, and may include floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, fires, illnesses, chemical or radiation emergencies, and terrorist or bioterrorist attacks, among others.
It's critical to ensure children and families know what to do in an emergency and that the unique needs and assets of youth are included in disaster preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery efforts. While many individuals report that they are aware of disasters and their potential effects, fewer report that they have undertaken steps to plan for or prepare for disasters.
Prevention and preparedness refer to the planning and actions that occur prior to a disaster. This may include preparing for public health threats, developing an emergency response plan, creating an emergency preparedness kit, or taking steps to address things that may cause a disaster.
Response and recovery refer to actions that occur during and after disasters or emergencies. Responses to emergencies may include sheltering in place or evacuating, and recovery may include repairing damaged infrastructure, reuniting families, replacing supplies, addressing emotional responses and revising response plans.
Youth-serving agencies can play an important role educating youth about disasters and teaching them coping mechanisms. Involving them in prevention, preparedness, recovery, and response efforts can help to ensure that youth, families, and communities are prepared and able to respond when faced with disasters.
Emergency Management Program Coordinator