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Our Director Director's Blog

FEMA

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? Over the next several weeks, the nation will join together to learn the best ways to prepare for disasters and emergencies, particularly those close to home.

This year’s theme, “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,” reminds us that we need to do more than just learn how to be prepared.  We all need to act now to make emergency plans, talk to family and friends, and get the supplies and equipment we need to be prepared.

Here in Washington, D.C., we are used to preparing for snow and ice storms that sometimes shut down the capital city during the unpredictable winter months. But as the derecho storm, Hurricane Sandy, in 2012 and the earthquake in 2011 taught us, we never know when an emergency will hit. And no matter what time of year it is, or what part of the country you are in, it is important to prepare at work, at home, and in your communities.

Maybe that means having a conversation with your family about making sure you have a central place to meet, or talking to your co-workers about workplace evacuation, it’s crucial to think ahead so that you can react immediately when a real emergency occurs.

Throughout September, the website Ready.gov and Federal agencies across government will be sharing resources, tips, and tools. Agencies are also being asked to educate and prepare employees for emergencies, both throughout this month and on the National Preparathon! Day of Action on September 30.

OPM is a national partner in the National Prepareathon! and we are excited to do all we can to spread the word about what to do during disasters. Here at OPM, we’ll be hosting an awareness series for our employees specifically focused on earthquake preparedness. As we found out in 2011, while earthquakes may be rare in our area, it is important for everyone to know what to what to do in the moment to stay safe.

I hope you will join us. Take this month to talk to your families and your co-workers. Make plans, ask questions, and seek out the resources you need. Join in the conversation on social media using hashtag #NatlPrep and check out Ready.gov.

There’s no good time for an emergency but it’s always a good time to get prepared for one.

Black bag with yellow writing that says 'Survival Kit'

April 30 is America’s PrepareAthon! National Day of Action. OPM is a national partner in this  nationwide, community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness and resilience.

As part of our support for the PrepareAthon, OPM will conduct a shelter-in-place exercise, designed to be activated during a tornado or dangerous wind and rain storm. The exercise gets us away from windows and other unsafe areas and may require us to go to the upper or lower parts of the building. It is also a part of our Dismissal and Closure Guide and is an important element of our toolkit for keeping employees safe while they are at work.

OPM will be one of many workplaces – as well as individual homes and communities – that will use tomorrow to practice for worst-case scenarios. These situations can be daunting. Our default often is not to think about such possibilities at all. But America’s PrepareAthon! emphasizes that we need to take the time to prepare now so that emergencies don’t catch us off guard.

There’s a lot to consider when preparing for an emergency. Take a moment to think about it. What’s your preparedness quotient? Do you pay attention to community alerts or warning systems? Do you have a preparedness plan? Have you talked about and practiced that plan with your family? Do you know what hazards are most likely to happen in your area?

Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. These are just a few of the things to consider during tomorrow’s Day of Action.

Whether you’re participating in a drill, crafting a plan with your family, or attending a community awareness event, be sure to take a few moments tomorrow to get prepared. If you’re here at OPM Headquarters, take a minute to review Occupant Emergency Plan. And everyone should check out the resources on ready.gov.

As this past winter taught us, when we’re prepared we can stay safe and work together to continue serving the American people, no matter the circumstances.

 

 


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