As if right on cue with the destruction of Hurricane Harvey in Texas right now, September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month encourages everyone to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. The official website has a free guide that breaks down the planning into manageable chunks for the month and provides information on the types of emergencies that can occur and what you can do for your family and your community. The theme this year is "Disasters Don't Plan Ahead. You Can."
Do you have a plan in place? A "Go Bag" you can grab in an emergency? If so, I'd love to hear your methods in the comments. I only have a vague plan, so this month I'll be following these weekly themes from NPM's website to make it a clear plan and really get organized.
Week 1: September 1-9 - Make a Plan for Yourself, Family, and Friends
Week 2: September 10-16 - Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community
Week 3: September 17-23 - Practice and Build Out Your Plans
Week 4: September 24-30 - Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger
Oklahomans have a reputation for being helpful and going out of their way for people in need. Let's keep that up and stay active in our communities. To support relief from Harvey, there are several options recommended by The New York Times.
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are asking for donations.
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is reporting a critical shortage, and has extended hours at all of its San Antonio-area donor rooms. To donate, call 210-731-5590 or visit their website for more information.
Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in North, Central and East Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.
To help animals suffering from the disaster, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society. The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has set up an animal emergency response hotline (713-861-3010) and is accepting donations.
The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, TX, 78238.
The L.G.B.T.Q. Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help people “rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.” It is managed by The Montrose Center, Houston’s longtime community center for the area’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population.
The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit their website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.
For more options, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas.
Make a plan, get organized, and stay safe, my friends.