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Health & Human Services News

Disasters Happen! Take Small Steps Now to be Prepared.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). Buncombe County wants you to have the information you need to protect yourself and the ones you love.

Extreme weather or a public health emergency can happen suddenly, leaving you and your family vulnerable. Whether the emergency is a flood, power outage, disease outbreak or any other type of disaster, there are simple steps you can take ahead of time that can make a huge difference in your ability to get through these situations.

Start now! When disasters happen, you may need to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours. Take these 4 simple steps to be ready and protect those that matter to you.

  1. Build a Kit  – Acquiring a basic preparedness kit is easy and affordable. You can start with the following items:
    • 3 days’ supply of water – a gallon per person per day
    • 3 days’ supply of nonperishable food per person per day
    • Manual can opener
    • Flashlight (with batteries)
    • Weather radio (with batteries)
    • Extra batteries

Watch the video to find out more.

  • Make a Ready List. You may not need all of the items in ready-made preparedness kits. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget. Work with your neighbor to share items like a radio. Don’t forget to keep supplies at work and in your car. Sample Ready Lists can be found at
  • Plan Your Purchases. You can save money by thinking ahead. Don’t buy preparedness items just before a storm when they’re expensive and supplies will be in high demand. Buy items at the end of the season when you can get good deals.
  • Buy preparedness items throughout the year, instead of all at once, and you can manage the cost better.
  • Make Sure it Keeps. Store water in safe, containers. You don’t need to buy expensive bottled water, just make sure your water containers are disinfected and airtight.
  • Request a Gift. We all get things we don’t need. Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from your friends and family. It just might save your life.
  • Trade a Night Out. Trade one night out to fund your 72-hour kit. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80. Just one night staying in could fund your Ready kit.
  1. Make a plan – Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations?
    • Work with your family and neighbors to make an emergency plan for the types of disasters that affect your area. Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. You can download Family Emergency Plan templates at
    • Update Contact Information. Having accurate records for family, friends and neighbors will help you stay in contact and possibly help those in need. Make sure updated contact information is posted in visible places throughout your house and workplace. Family Emergency Plan
    • Check Your Insurance Policy. Review your insurance policy annually and make any necessary changes- and renters, do the same too! When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will get you back on your feet.
  2. Be informed – You can receive important lifesaving alerts no matter where you are - at home, at school, or at work.
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR)
      • NOAA is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from a nearby National Weather Service office to specially configured NOAA weather radio receivers. Determine if NOAA Weather Radio is available where you live. If so, consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio receiver.
    • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
      • WEA’s send free informational text messages to WEA-enabled cell phones within range of an imminent and dangerous local situation, severe weather event, or AMBER emergency.
      • To find out if your mobile device is capable of receiving WEA alerts, contact your mobile device carrier or visit CTIA The Wireless Association.
    • Get Tech Ready with FEMA Text Messages
      • Use your cell phone’s text messaging capability to receive text message updates from FEMA (standard message and data rates apply). Here are basic commands to get started:
      • To sign-up to receive monthly preparedness tips: text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA)
      • To unsubscribe (at any time): text STOP to 43362 (4FEMA)
    • Tune in to your local television and radio stations for latest information about weather events.
  3. Get involved – Support community preparedness.
    • Become a National Preparedness Community Member
      Building community emergency support networks requires close coordination with government, emergency managers, public and private and sectors, as well as individuals to plan for the needs of the whole community. This is where the National Preparedness Community (NPC) members come into action.

      Signing up is simple, quick, and free. Visit and join over 26,000 National Preparedness Community members making a difference.

For more information, check out: