National Preparedness Month 2017: The Opportunity to Strengthen Community Resilience and Response

This September marks the fourteenth annual National Preparedness Month, created to raise public awareness about the importance of emergency preparedness and encourage Americans to take action. Each year, throughout the month of September, more than 3,000 public and private organizations at the national, state, and local levels promote guidelines and resources on planning for and effectively responding to life-threatening disasters. Ultimately, National Preparedness Month aims to ensure every American has the skills to protect themselves and their families during an emergency.

National Preparedness Month provides local health department (LHD) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Unit leaders, staff, and volunteers with an opportunity to foster greater community understanding and support for the critical role of local public health in supporting emergency preparedness. By hosting preparedness-themed education and outreach activities throughout September, LHDs and MRC Units can promote year-round community vigilance and strengthen collective resilience. In addition, local health officials and MRC Unit volunteers can sharpen their preparedness knowledge and facilitation skills as a result of leading Preparedness Month events.

NACCHO encourages LHDs to take advantage of Preparedness Month to engage families, communities, businesses, and other regional partners in preparedness activities. For guidance, LHDs and MRC Units should look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ready.gov, both leading efforts in support of National Preparedness Month. Additionally, NACCHO’s Preparedness team will post feature articles (on this blog) discussing both the CDC and FEMA weekly themes in the context of local public health preparedness. Finally, NACCHO is offering three ways LHDs and MRC Units can receive national recognition for promoting their preparedness-related efforts this September:

  1. NACCHO Preparedness Month Pledge: For the third year in a row, NACCHO is launching the Preparedness Pledge campaign. Through this pledge, LHDs and MRC Units can make a commitment to conducting activities that promote preparedness throughout the month of September. To take the pledge, an LHD or MRC Unit representative must fill out this short survey, providing a summary of their agency’s planned Preparedness Month activities. At the end of the month, LHDs/MRC Units that upheld their pledge will have an opportunity to be featured on the NACCHO Preparedness Brief Blog and other national communication channels.
  2. Preparedness Summit Abstract Kick Off: LHDs and MRC Units can also promote their preparedness efforts during September by submitting an abstract for the 2018 Preparedness Summit starting September 1, 2017. The Summit, scheduled to take place on April 17-20 in Atlanta, is the premier national conference in the field of public health and healthcare preparedness. The four-day event delivers cross-disciplinary opportunities to share new research and practices with nearly 2,000 colleagues from across the nation. As soon as abstract submission is open, additional instructions will be available on the Preparedness Summit website and will also be added in a separate post on this blog.
  3. NACCHO Preparedness Month Social Media Promotion: NACCHO also encourages LHDs/MRC units to share their Preparedness Month activities throughout September via social media. Each week during the month of September, NACCHO will highlight LHD/MRC Preparedness Month activity posts that tag NACCHO on Twitter (@NACCHOalerts) or on Facebook (@NACCHOhq) and use #NatlPrep.

For more about NACCHO’s Preparedness Pledge campaign, click here for a recap of last’s year LHD and MRC Unit participants. Additional information about the Preparedness Summit will become available via the dedicated website for the conference starting in September. Local health officials, MRC Unit leaders, volunteers and others are also strongly encouraged to sign up for the Preparedness Summit e-newsletter to receive the latest updates on the event. Last, but not least, click here for more on CDC themes and resources for Preparedness Month 2017, and click here to learn more about Ready.gov themes and resources

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