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This September: A time to remember, a time to prepare

September is National Preparedness Month, as well as the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V has initiated a month-long campaign to highlight the importance of preparedness.

"Preparedness is a shared responsibility," said Andrew Velasquez III, regional administrator of FEMA's office in Chicago. "The whole community - individuals, businesses, community organizations, faith-based groups, and state, local and tribal governments - should focus this month on preparing for all types of emergencies and disasters."

This year's National Preparedness Month campaign theme, "A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare," seeks to transform awareness into action by encouraging all Americans to take the necessary steps to ensure that their homes, workplaces and communities are prepared for disasters and emergencies. FEMA's Chicago office has developed a series of videos to encourage preparedness. These videos can be viewed at FEMA Media Library: Kicking Off National Preparedness Month.

National Preparedness Month is supported by a coalition of public, private and non-profit organizations that help spread the preparedness message. This year's record number of coalition members, approximately 6,000, are sharing preparedness information with their members, customers, employees and communities.

"By hosting events, promoting volunteer programs and sharing emergency preparedness information, coalition members can help ensure that their communities are prepared for emergencies," said Velasquez. To become an NPM Coalition Member and find readiness events that may be taking place near you, visit:

While National Preparedness Month is held each September, FEMA's Ready Campaign promotes individual emergency preparedness at home, in the workplace, and throughout America's communities throughout the year. The Ready campaign is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies year round, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Preparing can start with three important steps:

1. Get an emergency supply kit

2. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency

3. Be informed about emergencies that could happen in your community, and identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency

"Because disasters may disrupt essential services, everyone is reminded to take the steps necessary to be self-sufficient for three days," Velasquez said. "Taking action now to prepare for emergencies and disasters will increase your chances of surviving and recovering from a disaster."

State emergency management agencies throughout Region V are participating in National Preparedness Month in a variety of ways. Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management is launching "If You See Something Say Something" advertisements throughout the Twin Cities metro area.