September is National Preparedness Month, and the Evanston Health Department is reminding all residents to use this month to prepare for natural disasters and emergencies.

“Emergency preparedness is the responsibility of everyone. By taking a few simple steps –creating a disaster supply kit, making a family disaster plan and staying well informed about weather-related and other emergencies – we can ensure that citizen preparedness is a priority,” said Evanston Health Department Director, Evonda Thomas.

National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Ready America campaign, is a nationwide effort designed to increase awareness as well as encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to take action to prepare for emergencies.

Health officials and the Office of Preparedness and Response recommend the following to prepare for emergencies:
• Make a plan. Designate locations to meet family, create plans that will apply for different hazards, like floods or winter weather. Tailor plans to your unique families- remember that children, the elderly or disabled relatives have different needs. 

• Create an emergency supply kit. Include at least 72 hours worth of water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription medicine, other tools and sanitation (extra batteries, hand crank weather radio, soap, toilet paper, etc.), clothing and bedding. Don’t forget prep for pets!

• Get training. Learn first aid, CPR, know how to “shelter-in-place” and how to turn off utilities (water, power, gas) in your home.

• Volunteer. Volunteer as a Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) member or, if you have a medical background, in the Evanston Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

Looking for more ideas? Have questions? Check out http://ready.illinois.gov/ for guides, suggestions, and information on what to do in emergencies or contact Josiane Horak, Evanston Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator at jhorak@cityofevanston.org.