September is National Preparedness Month in America. As preppers, we work towards increasing our survival odds on a daily – or at least a weekly basis. But most of our fellow citizens have not yet begun to grasp how important it is to be ready to fully deal with even short-term natural disasters on their own.
A National Household Survey shared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) revealed that even though three quarters of Americans declared they possess emergency supplies, food, and water in their homes in case of a disaster, less than 50 percent of respondents had bothered to develop an actual emergency plan.
During the annual National Preparedness Month, the federal government uses the awareness campaign to urge everyone to make an emergency survival plan plan, a survival kit, get educated about the types of disasters that are most likely to affect them, as well as getting more engaged in both community preparedness and response planning.
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What Is National Preparedness Month?
Before we get down to annual prepping inventory tips, even seasoned preppers might need to learn a bit more about National Preparedness Month.
Each year, the month of September is designed by the federal government as the time to raise awareness about the importance of not only family, but business and community disaster planning.
An annual theme is also assigned to each National Preparedness Month observance. In 2019, the theme is, “Prepared, Not Scared” – sentiments most preppers and survival homesteaders already live by on a daily basis.
Why National Preparedness Month Matters
One of my prepping mentors, Survivor Jane, always says, “We are all in this together.” I thought of her prepping mantra the first time I saw National Preparedness Month ads this year.
Not only is September a great time to do some reviews of our own preps, take a full inventory, and work on honing the survival skills of everyone in our tribe, it’s a perfect time to reach out to non-preppers in our neighborhood and community.
The more those folks around us are prepared, the better off we all will be when a regional natural disaster strikes or when the SHTF on an epic scale. Preppers often factor the threats posed by the “marauding hordes” into their survival plan.
By using National Preparedness Month as a means to introduce the basic concepts of prepping to others, we can increase our family’s overall chances of survival by turning one potential person into a more self-reliant person.
If you can plant the seeds needed to sprout a desire to for neighbors and groups to put together a 72-hour bag, stockpile water, and learn basic first aid in case flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes – or any common short-term natural disaster in your area occurs, you may be saving a life.
That newfound sense of accomplishment, especially if the knowledge and supplies get used, could enlighten the individuals to become card carrying full-fledged preppers one day.
What Are National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster – VOAD?
Any type of community or civic group can part of the National Preparedness Month Coalition. Groups only need to agree to participate in a preparedness related event or activity during the month of September and agree to promote emergency prepping efforts through a large variety of ways.
Some suggested activities or events include creating disaster checklist pamphlets, sponsoring community events, coordinating Disaster Preparedness Days, and helping make emergency survival kits.
Before the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster program and interactive forum were created, groups across the country operated independently, and could not easily connect and share resources or coordinate efforts.
When the seven founding groups came together to create National VOAD, they established the four Cs, communication, coordination, collaboration, and cooperation, to center efforts around so similar organizations around the country could help serve victims of disasters more impactfully.
Now, National VOAD is the leading voice for non-profit groups that work in a wide range of disaster support services – preparedness, response, relief, recovery, and mitigation. It is the main point of contact for volunteers at FEMA’s headquarters, and is a signatory of the United States National Response Plan.
When Did National Preparedness Month Start?
In 2004, the first National Preparedness Month was launched in the United States. After the attack on the United States of America by radical Islamic terrorists on 9/11/2001, the federal government started to take an active role in urging all citizens to engage in emergency preparedness at their homes, businesses, school, and in their community.
September was chosen as National Preparedness month because the vicious act of terror highlighted the dire need to be prepared for what can seem unthinkable.
Ready Kids Programs
National Preparedness Month also includes the Ready Kids programs that are aimed at directly speaking to youth of all age levels, parents, caregivers, and educational or organization instructors.
By visiting the linked website, adults can learn how to help children cope with the impact of disasters, share disaster facts with youth, how to prepare a survival kit for children, as well as online games and printables to share with the small loved ones in your tribe.
What Is the National Preparedness Goal?
Part of the federal government’s National Preparedness Month concept includes the creation of a national preparedness goal.
This goal is essentially a “vision for preparedness” on a nationwide level that includes the basic building blocks of the self-reliant abilities to be able to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond, and recover from either a man-made or natural disaster.
The prevention portion of the national preparedness goal is designed to “prevent, avoid, or stop” any imminent or threatened act of terrorism, specifically.
The goals of the national preparedness efforts also focus on business and the economy. Just how rapidly a company can open back up and conduct business after a natural disaster or terrorist attack is directly impacted by the preparedness efforts undertaken before any type of even regional SHTF event.
The government’s “Ready Campaign” specifically highlights the three steps it urges companies to undertake as part of their Business Disaster Preparedness efforts:
- Plan to stay in business
- Talk to your people
- Protect your investment
- Establish a response team
Backing up vital business information and documenting all of the equipment and property owned by the company, according to the government’s national preparedness goals, are essential to a timely return to operations.
What Does the National Response Framework Provide?
The United States National Response Framework (NRF) is also an important part of the overall National Preparedness Month strategy to get America and Americans better prepared.
The framework embodies the principles that guide each level of domestic emergency response partners to plan and train for a coordinated nationwide response to any type of disaster.
What Is the National Preparedness Report?
Each year, FEMA issues the National Preparedness Report to assess the overall condition of emergency readiness in the country. The report details areas where progress has been experienced, reiterates the importance of preparing on a nationwide level, and pinpoints areas where work on this same front should be experienced.
For preppers, every month is preparedness month. We already have a 72-hour kit, a bugout bag, and water stockpiled. But, the three things most of us do not engage in as often as we ought to, should become an annual tradition – and there is no better time than the present to get to it.
- Take a FULL prepping inventory
- Review your survival plan
- Launch a prepper challenge
The best prepared prepper is the one who knows exactly what they have, what they still need, and how to use all of their supplies and skills to their full potential.
Making A Prepper Inventory
Our Prepper Inventory: 16 Printable Lists To Organize Your Preps article includes free PDFs of checklists with vital items we all should be stockpiling already added in. The inventory templates also each includes blank entry space so you can personalize the checklist by writing in your own preps, as well.
Part of the full prepper inventory process can also include evaluating how prepared your neighborhood or community is and how that impacts your family’s chances of survival. Becoming involved in or learning how to start a neighborhood watch can also be an essential part of your SHTF organizational efforts.
Our Checklist Of Things To Do When Disaster Strikes will help you to prepare all of the members of your family for a SHTF event – even if they are away from home.
Can you quickly pull together a Survival Kit For Every Emergency from exactly what is available in your preps right this minute? Review our comprehensive list of different types of survival kits while taking a prepper inventory to determine if your gear and supplies are going to fall short when the SHTF.
Review Your Survival Plan
Are you a prepper of a survivalist? There is a difference between the two, and learning which category your preps and skills place you in could make a life or death difference during a long-term disaster.
Starting a mutual assistance group can both increase strength in numbers and vastly enhance the overall skill set available to your family during a long term disaster.
This National Preparedness Month, learn more about how to start a mutual assistance group to see if such a move could become a valuable part of your survival plan.
If part of your long range survival plan is to move onto a sustainable patch of land somewhere in rural American to increase the likelihood that your family will not only live through a long term disaster, but thrive during what comes next, review our How To Create A Prepper Compound guide for tips on how to achieve this goal.
Are you stockpiled preps protected against rodent damage? Keeping your survival gear and long-term shelf stable food supply safe is vital to the success of your survival plan. Review our 9 Ways To Keep Rodents Out Of Your Stockpile guide to help make sure you have done all that you can to ensure your supplies will be there when you need them.
Making the most out of your prepping budget enables you to reach the goals outlined in your survival plan. Preppers are a fiscally responsible lot by nature, but are you earning, saving, and spending to the best of your abilities?
Review our Financial Advice For Preppers Guide to discover if there are more ways you can curb spending and stretch your survival dollars further.
Are you a lone wolf prepper, a friends and family prepper, or a prepper that wants to become part of a survival tribe. Check out our Prepper Networking In Good Times and Bad guide to learn more about the pros and cons of joining a mutual assistance group could have on your survival plan.
Is prepping a lifestyle for you and your family or do you merely stockpile supplies and gear? Read our Should Prepping Run Your Life report to help you learn how effectively you may be able to implement our survival plan during either a short or long term disaster.
Survival homesteading is the latest “trend” in prepping. You can homestead no matter where you live, even if its in an urban environment.
Will developing a homesteading for survival mindset and skill set increase your chances of living through an apocalyptic event? Probably, read our Is Homesteading The Best Way To Prep report to find out.
Every prepper should be prepared to bugout out, even if you live on a fully sustainable 56-acre survival homestead like I do. If you had to bugout out a moment’s notice, would your family and modes of transportation be immediately up to the task? Review our Preparing Your Homestead For Evacuation guide to see how your bugout plans stack up.
If children exist or likely will exist in your survival tribe during a long term disaster, then developing a homeschooling curriculum and setting up a homeschooling classroom in your home should be a part of your survival plan.
Children will need to learn to read, write, do at least basic math, and have a solid understanding of earth science to be able to function in the world they will be forced to grow up in.
If a child cannot read he or she cannot follow recipes, mechanical repair guides, or read the binders of material in your prepper library. Without basic math skills, the child will not be able to measure and cut materials, judge space and distance when bugging out and hunting, or properly administer medical treatment.
Earth science will teach the children about gardening, raising animals, weather patterns, water treatment, soil erosion, and a host of other agricultural and natural related material they must possess in order to survive in a society that may very well be functioning at an 1800s era existence.
Are you ready to have all of the members of your family descend upon your prepper retreat when the SHTF?
Even if you have prepped with your adult children and their families, cousins, in-laws, and friends that are like family, actually functioning within the confines of that much togetherness and making the space you have work to the best of your advantage might be a little more difficult than imagined.
Do you have a charity procedure or policy in place as part of your survival plan? No matter how remotely your prepper retreat is located, sooner or later folks will show up at the gate begging for food, water, shelter, and medicine.
While it may be easy to decide how you will deal with a member of a marauding horde, creating a policy regarding how the crying young mother holding a baby in her arms and a toddler in tow is dealt with, could be met with heated debate when discussing such a scenario with your survival tribe.
Read our report on SHTF charity to help guide you to a consensus on dealing with non-threatening intruders.
Will you be 60 or older when the SHTF or riding out the apocalypse with elderly loved ones? If the answer is yes to either question, read our Ultimate Guide To Prepping With Seniors to learn how to implement more age specific preps into your survival plan.
Regardless of what type of disaster your are prepping for, you should be aware and plan to address, the domino effect of disasters and the distinctly different stages of a SHTF disaster with your survival plan.
Living with a downed power grid in spite of whatever type of event initiated the nationwide disaster, is just one likely possibility your SHTF plan and preps must address.
Does your survival plan only focus on how to make it through a disaster alive? If so, you need to add another chapter to your prepping guide. Review our 35 Post-SHTF Career Choices to learn how to turn your self-reliance skills into a lucrative new job during the societal rebuilding stage and beyond.
If your survival plan consists only or mainly of high tailing it out “to the woods” PLEASE read our About The Bugging Out To The Forest Scenario… report and then start developing a survival plan that could actually save your life.
Instead of leaving your bugout plans up to chance and a series of events completely beyond your control, learn How To Make a Bulletproof Bug Out Plan be reviewing our comprehensive step by step guide.
Understanding exactly what to and what not to expect from our federal, state, and local government when the SHTF could have a monumental impact on your survival plan. Relying on others to save you is NOT a survival plan, at least not one that will offer the desired outcome.
The Survival Sullivan Societal Collapse: How To Prepare For And Survive It guide can serve as an in-depth resource for preppers who are in the early stages of developing their survival plan or are seeking guidance on how to improve a prepping plan in progress.
Launch A Prepper Challenge
There are two aspects to launching a prepper challenge. First, in honor of National Preparedness Month, use this time to review and hone not only your own self-reliance skills, but to cross train other members of your family.
Are you using your free time to train yourself to be the best prepared person you can be? Review our 20 Things Preppers Should Do More Of report to see how your survival activities stack up.
Can your prepping gear, supplies, and skills sustain you both during and after a doomsday disaster scenario? As part of your National Preparedness Month prepper challenge, read our Do You Have What It Takes To Survive A Disaster guide to grade your – and improve, your self-reliance skill set.
The Survival Sullivan 5 Day Challenge For Advanced Preppers is a perfect way for both your and everyone in your prepping tribe to learn how to enhance their survival knowledge and skills in the short term.
Our Learn One Survival Skill For 5 Days guide is designed to guide and challenge newbie preppers who are striving to increase their self-reliance skillset, and can be implemented easily no matter where you live or how much time you can devote to prepping during a single week.
Even if you do not have much spare time after work and before bedtime, there are still ways you can enhance your preparedness skills on a daily basis. Check out our 25 Ways To Prep Without Lifting A Finger report to discover time-saving prepper education activities.
If you are the only person in the group who knows how to can the garden harvest, sew stitches in a wound, or reload ammo and you are injured, ill, or killed during the SHTF event, the survival chances your loved ones are greatly diminished.
Secondly, reach out to others who are not prepping and enlighten and entice them into becoming more self-reliant, You do not have to ignore all OPSEC rules to raise awareness among those you care about – or to strengthen the numbers of your prepping tribe.
Start with the basics, teach them some traditional homesteading skills, such as: gardening, canning, foraging, orienteering. Next, branch out to some general life skills like: first aid, basic mechanical repairs, and carpentry.
Use what you know about each non-prepper or newbie prepper to develop a challenge that suits their personality, hobbies, and current skill set for the best results.
Our Educating The Unprepared And Uninformed guide will help you navigate the somewhat tricky prepping 101 waters.
Our Sorry, Non-Preppers, Here’s Why You’re Dead Wrong About Us report should offer some great insight on how to deal with stereotypical misconceptions non-preppers have about our crowd before trying to convince them to see the threats to life as we know it looming on the horizon.
Could your children survive a disaster without your supervision and guidance? Teaching even the youngest members of our survival tribe self-reliance skills, independence, and responsibility will be essential to their survival if you become incapacitated or killed during the disaster or the societal rebuilding stage that comes after.
Check out our Free Range Children report for tips on how to teach the youth you care about survival skills as part of your National Preparedness Month prepper challenge activities.
Homeschooling is incredibly popular with self-reliant families. If your children are not educated at home, learning how to create an EDC kit for them that will both keep them safe and not get them suspended from school should be a part of the National Preparedness Month challenge you issue to yourself.
The best prepared prepper is the one who knows exactly what they have, what they still need, and how to use all of their supplies and skills to their full potential.
When developing a survival plan, enhancing your skills, and crafting a complete inventory, never leave anything up to chance and take pride in admitting that you know what you don’t know, and working diligently to fill those voids with knowledge, skills, and essential supplies.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.