2014 National Preparedness Month kicks off

Posted: September 04, 2014

ALL ACROSS the country, National Preparedness Month is observed in September, and it's no different in Philly, where the city's Office of Emergency Management runs down its checklist in the untimely event of the "what if?"

Mayor Nutter and city safety officials yesterday announced the launch of National Preparedness Month ahead of a preparedness fair outside City Hall.

"This part of our effort is vital in increasing the city's response - not only in the city government, but for all our citizens," Nutter said.

"Our city is a million and a half and growing. We're making sure they're ready for any emergency and having the ability to recover."

The Office of Emergency Management regularly conducts free workshops throughout the year, but this month, OEM will offer 20 family emergency workshops at City Hall, the Municipal Services Building and the One Parkway building, where many city employees work. These workshops are designed to teach the public how to deal with and avoid natural and man-made disasters.

According to a national survey recently conducted by FEMA, Nutter said that many families admitted they had not taken the necessary steps to prepare for some common "rainy day" scenarios.

"Only half the people surveyed reported that they have supplies available in their homes in case of an emergency," Nutter said.

"Only 39 percent reported they have a family emergency plan in place, and they have discussed these plans with their family members. Many vulnerable populations also have great barriers in getting prepared due to insufficient time, lack of money or access to the necessary or needed information."

Samantha Phillips, the city's deputy managing director for emergency management, said that over the past several years, OEM has hosted more than 200 personal and family preparedness workshops with partnering agencies such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia Disaster Relief Services and Red Paw Emergency Relief.

"Your family is your first priority," she said. "Having a good emergency plan in place and having a stock of emergency supplies on hand will provide you some comfort knowing your family can ride out an incident."

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