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Disasters don’t wait for people to be ready. They strike when least expected, which is why Fort Hood’s Directorate of Training, Mobilization and Security urges people to make a plan today.

“You’ll never know when a disaster will occur. Being prepared will help prevent or lessen the potential setbacks or burdens due to unexpected hazards and emergencies,” Fred Corbin, the emergency management specialist for DTMS, explained. “Planning and preparation are cornerstones of resiliency across the Army.”

September is National Preparedness Month, recognized around the country to help promote family and community disaster response and planning. At Fort Hood, Corbin said Soldiers and families should begin by discussing their emergency plan and making an emergency kit, taking several factors into consideration when determining what needs to be packed and how much.

Basic emergency kits should include bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, whistle, manual can opener, maps, garbage bags, plastic sheeting, duct tape, AM/FM radio with backup batteries and blankets. From there, Corbin said the kit should include items unique for the family. Families with infants should include diapers, wipes and formula. Families with daily prescription needs or other medical needs should include any medicine or dietary food items specific for their needs. Families with pets should include food, water, bowls and medications for the family pet.

When making an emergency kit, people should have one for home, work and automobile because one never knows when disaster will strike.

“Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles. Make sure you keep your home kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly,” Corbin said. “For your work kit, be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a ‘grab and go’ case. Have an emergency vehicle kit in case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car along with additional automobile items such as jumper cables, ice scraper, blanket, map, flares, reflective triangle and cell phone charger.”

The 2020 theme, “Disaster Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today,” has been broken into weekly themes to focus on one specific topic each week. Week one is “Make a Plan,” www.ready.gov/plan. Ready, a national campaign created to promote preparedness through public involvement, says families should begin by taking the time to figure out things, such as a designated meeting area for the family, who may not be together with disaster strikes. The website includes an emergency plan parents can download or to use as a guide when creating your own.

The week two theme is, “Build a Kit,” www.ready.gov/kit, which includes a detailed list of recommended supplies for emergency kits. New to the list this year is cloth face coverings for everyone ages two and above. The list also includes things to keep children and families busy while sheltered, such as books, games, puzzles or other activities.

Week three is called, “Prepare for Disasters,” www.ready.gov/be-informed, which focuses on various types of disasters and emergencies, such as active shooters, cybersecurity, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes and more. The website also provides useful information regarding ways to limit the severity of disasters, such getting supplies ready in a storm shelter or boarding up windows in the event of a hurricane.

“Teach Youth About Preparedness,” www.ready.gov/kids, is the topic of week four. The website includes information for children, teens and families. Children can read, play games and activities to understand the important information. Youth can also sign up for the Youth Preparedness Council, created to bring youth leaders together in supporting disaster preparedness and making a difference in their communities with national and local preparedness projects. They give their perspectives, feedback and opinions to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which helps FEMA determine how youth are affected by emergencies.

Corbin said Ready Army presentations were presented to Soldiers and civilians in August, leading up to National Preparedness Month, but they try to be proactive with the campaign year-round. Ready Army presentations are also given monthly during the Community Resource Course for newcomers and Soldier and Family Readiness Groups. Across the installation, Corbin said units will also be practicing their own emergency action plans.

For more information regarding emergency preparedness kits, visit the Ready Army website at https://ready.army.mil or through the Federal Emergency Management Agency website at https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.

In the event of an emergency, all Army-affiliated personnel need to report their status to their command at the first available opportunity. Corbin said if internet connectivity is available, check in online with the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System, https://adpaas.army.mil, and report the status of the entire family. For those without internet connectivity, reporting can be done by calling the ADPAAS hotline at 1-800-833-6622 or through Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.