02 September 2011

It's National Preparedness Month and Introducing "Prep30"

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), and so I'm starting a series of "Prep30" posts. At the outset, I plan to have a set of 30 daily posts, each focusing on one small task that you can finish in about 30 minutes (or less). Eventually, I expect to have more than 30 posts, but they'll still shoot for taking about a half hour each. Let's talk about NPM first, then more about the Prep30 posts. Reading them both is your starting Prep30 "assignment."

What is NPM?
NPM was founded after 9/11 to increase preparedness in the U.S. It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for an unexpected emergency. This September marks the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, so please take time to remember those lost, as well as time to make sure you and your family are prepared for future emergencies.

Remember, emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere. If you’ve seen the news this year, you know that disasters can happen unexpectedly — anywhere and anytime. This September, please prepare in the event your family must go for a few days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services. If nothing else, start with the three steps promoted by Ready.gov: Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be informed.

Get a Kit
Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for your family — water, non-perishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and a battery-powered radio. If you own pets, remember to include their food and supplies in your supply kit. The Ready Kids family-friendly website (Ready.gov/kids) features instructions on what families and teachers can do to prepare for emergencies and the role kids can play in that effort. Spanish material is available at Listo Niños (Listo.gov).

Make a Plan
Discuss and agree on an emergency plan with your family. You can download and fill out a Family Emergency Plan from Ready.gov/makeaplan.

Be Informed
In addition to the Ready.gov site, free information is available from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources to assist you. Contact your local emergency management agencies to get details on specific hazards in your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get specific information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up to receive emergency alerts if they are available.

Consider planning a Ready Kids event in your community to encourage other families to remember, and prepare. Sample activities that are great for schools, scouts and other youth groups include:
  • Helping Girl Scouts & Boy Scout work towards achieving their new Preparedness Patch
  • Volunteering to present preparedness information in your child’s class or in PTO/PTA meetings
  • Inviting officials from your local Office of Emergency Management, Citizen Corps Council, or first responder teams to speak at schools or youth events
For more information on National Preparedness Month and for help getting your family, business or community prepared, visit Ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO, and TTY 1-800-462-7585.

What about Prep30?
As you can see above, there's a lot to do to get prepared. It's all too easy to see everything that should be done and get overwhelmed, leading to not doing anything. Getting (and staying) motivated is the key.

According to this Pick Your Brain blog article, there are three primary reasons we lose motivation:
  1. Lack of confidence: If you don’t believe you can succeed, what’s the point in trying?
  2. Lack of focus: If you don’t know what you want, do you really want anything?
  3. Lack of direction: If you don’t know what to do, how can you be motivated to do it?
The Prep30 tasks will help you work on each of these areas:
  1. Confidence: The Prep30 goals are easily achievable, so doing them will be like putting one foot in front of the other... each will enhance your confidence, and soon you'll be a long ways down the road.
  2. Focus: The Prep30 tasks take 30 minutes or less. This enables a narrow focus and makes it possible to stay motivated for the short amount of time required.
  3. Direction: The Prep30 instructions are simple and well-defined, so you can just do them.
Getting Started on Prep30
As I mentioned at the start of this post, reading this is your first Prep30 assignment. Check back tomorrow for your next task.

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Also, if there's any area of preparedness that you'd like to see covered in Prep30, please leave your suggestion in the Comments below.

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