Governor Kim Reynolds has proclaimed September as Preparedness Month in Iowa to urge Iowans to take steps now to prepare for emergencies and disasters.
Joyce Flinn, director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD), said recent severe weather and flooding are reminders that disasters can and do happen in our state and that everyone needs to be prepared.
“While we can’t control the weather and its impacts, we can plan ahead so we know how to survive when emergencies and disasters occur. We all have a role to play in the preparedness of ourselves, our families, our communities, and our state.”
Iowa’s Preparedness Month is held in conjunction with National Preparedness Month, which was created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States to educate the public on how to prepare for emergencies. Iowa’s Preparedness Month is sponsored each year by HSEMD, the Iowa Emergency Management Association (IEMA), the Safeguard Iowa Partnership (SIP), and the National Weather Service (NWS).
Thomas Craighton, president of IEMA and Hardin County Emergency Management Director, said that while local emergency managers help to ensure responders in each county are ready for emergencies and disasters, citizens have a responsibility to be prepared, too.
“Disasters begin and end in our neighborhoods and home towns,” said Craighton. “It’s important that citizens take responsibility for their own preparedness.”
“Preparedness and awareness are key to helping protect our businesses, our employees, our customers, our families and ourselves,” said Safeguard Iowa Partnership Executive Director Dutch Geisinger. “Preparedness Month should encourage Iowans to build an emergency plan or test their existing plans for effectiveness. There are many resources available to help you get started or assist with these efforts at little or no cost.”
Kenny Podrazik, meteorologist from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Des Moines, emphasizes, “Now is the time to organize, review, and practice your family preparedness plan. It’s imperative you and your family know who to call, where to meet and what to pack before the big disaster strikes. Your family plan could save lives.”
During Preparedness Month, Iowans are urged to take simple steps to ensure they, their families and their places of business are prepared. Those steps are making an emergency plan, building an emergency kit and being aware of hazards in their area.