National Preparedness Month kicks off on September 1, and Cobb & Douglas Public Health is urging the community to take time to learn about the risks of natural disasters and how to prepare for an unexpected emergency.

Making a preparedness plan is essential since emergencies can happen at any time, in any community. Hurricanes, tornado outbreaks, flash floods, historic earthquakes, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities can affect millions of people for days at a time. The theme ‘Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,’ continues this year, following last year’s success.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through Ready.gov has broken this year’s Preparedness Month into five weeks of topics for residents to participate:

Additionally, residents can focus on being informed about how and where specific emergencies occur, building supply kits and getting involved with neighbors to make community plans through use of detailed “playbooks” and readiness tips for each of the most common emergencies:

  1. EarthquakesEarthquakes can occur suddenly and be deadly. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass and falling objects.
  1. FloodsFlooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere.
  1. HurricanesHurricanes have the power to cause widespread devastation and can affect both coastal and inland areas.
  1. TornadoesTornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms, and can cause death, injury and destruction within seconds.
  1. Wild FiresWildfires can occur anywhere and can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources and agriculture.
  1. Winter StormsWinter storms can occur anywhere and bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds or a combination of all these conditions. They can cause power outages that last for days or weeks, making it hard to keep warm and travel very dangerous.

For more information about National Preparedness Month and for detailed information about the most common emergencies and how you can prepare, visit ww