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September is National Preparedness Month, Are You Ready?

September 5, 2013

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and it is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters.  As you have seen over the past year, emergencies can happen unexpectedly anytime, anywhere.  There have been hundreds of disasters over the past year.  One of the most significant disasters was Superstorm Sandy.  The destruction the storm caused almost one year ago is still seen in communities affected by the storm.  Individuals and families served by ACF programs were particularly impacted – at the peak of the storm, 86 Head Start Centers  and 697 child care centers across Connecticut, New York and New Jersey were closed.  ACF responded by sending over 70 staff to assist States with response and recovery efforts.
Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster.  The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.  This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these four steps:

  • Stay Informed: Information is available from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources.  In Central Office, consult the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) or in Regional Offices, talk to your Regional Emergency Management Specialist to get more information as well.
  • Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care.  Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to build community resilience.
  • Build a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies - water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio on hand - for you and those in your care.
  • Get Involved: There are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and places of worship safer from risks and threats.  While here at ACF, find out more about being involved in the Emergency Response Readiness Force (ERRF)

I encourage you to learn more about preparing your family by visiting FEMA’s Ready website along with ACF’s Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response at  If you use Facebook and Twitter, you can also follow OHSEPR to receive preparedness tips throughout the month.  ACF, as an organization, is taking steps to prepare, not only during National Preparedness Month, but all year long. I urge you to take time to do the same in your homes and communities.  
George H. Sheldon
Acting Assistant Secretary
  for Children and Families



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