National Preparedness Month 2021: Prepare to protect

  • Published
  • By 436th CES Emergency Management
  • 436th Civil Engineering Squadron

One of the key tenants of emergency management is ensuring we are prepared to respond and react to anticipated and unanticipated disasters. The Office of Emergency Management, in coordination with our off-base partners and recommendations of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s initiative, is proud to participate in the 2021 National Preparedness Month informational campaign. This informational campaign, which began in 2004, is observed each September. NPM encourages local communities to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools and public areas.

This year the national theme is, “Prepare to protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”

The public, families and individuals break up the general theme into weekly segments that focus on different aspects of overall preparedness actions.


Here are the current weekly themes provided by FEMA:

Sept.1 – 4: Make a plan - Discuss with family and friends about how you intend to communicate with them before, during and after a disaster. Communication is always critical in keeping loved ones informed about your situation. Have a plan that discusses who you can reach out to, how you can contact them and what your actions will be if you have to evacuate or shelter in place, depending on the incident type. Make sure your contacts in your communications plan are outside anticipated hazard areas, yet close enough that you can “rally” up with them if it becomes necessary. Remember, lack of information or awareness just makes the situation more stressful for all.

Sept. 5 – 11: Build a Kit - Make sure you have the necessities you will need to get you through the disaster. You should assemble an emergency supply or “go kit” with essential items for at least a 72-hour period. The “go kit” should also be portable enough that you can take it with you in the event you have to evacuate the area. Also, consider the needs of family members who may have special medical, food or mobility requirements to make the process easier for them. Finally, do not forget to include the family pet when you shelter or evacuate. Make sure you have food, water and medications for them as well. It is recommended having a kennel or restraint in case you have to evacuate to a public shelter or hotel. Although many shelters can make accommodations for your pet(s), space and resources may be limited depending on the situation.

Sept.12 – 18: Prepared for Disasters - It is important to know and recognize what potential hazards exist in your local area and region. Do you want to know what hazards exist for our installation? You can reach out to your EM representative or our office to get specifics. After you know what hazards exist, do you have the means to mitigate the impacts? Is your home in a flood plain or is it built with hurricane reinforcement to make sure it’s more resilient? Is your insurance adequate to cover everything you own and do you require enrollment in the National Flood Insurance Program?

Sept. 19 – 25: Teach Youth about Preparedness - Ensure that all members of your family and community are READY to deal with a disaster; this includes the youngest among us. Have a discussion with children about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Make sure you have this within your communications plan. Do they know how to re-establish contact or do they have the ability to reach out to your contacts by an alternate means? Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved in the preparedness process as well. They are an essential element during your preparedness actions, make them feel that way.

Do you know how you will receive information about an impending hazard or an incident that is occurring? There are several way that you may be notified about an emergency. On the base we utilize the Installation Notification and Warning System, or INWS. This includes audible loud speakers placed throughout the base, desk top messaging if you are on the Air Force network or a digital reverse 911 system called AtHoc, which can send out texts and phone calls to let you know what’s going on and what to do. What if you are off-base? Delaware has some sirens you may have noticed as well; know what the tones mean. A wavering tone of three alarms is notifying local fire departments that something has occurred, like an accident or house fire. A continuous, steady tone means that a tornado is around and you should seek immediate shelter. Find out what the notifications and signals are in your local area and know how to react.

Important Point: Make sure to update your plans and action based on the Centers for Disease Control  recommendations due to the coronavirus. Remember, it’s still here and it’s still active.

Some important links to help you better prepare:

The most important information about disasters and emergency management comes from your local officials and community leaders. Local governments plan, prepare and respond to disasters with the support of the state and federal governments. The Office of Emergency Management at Dover AFB is your key resource for assisting our community in ensuring they are prepared.

Most organizations on the base can contact their own emergency management representative to get key information about these efforts. The Installation OEM is always available to assist with your emergency management needs. You can call 677-6212/6216, email or simply swing by our office in building 638, during normal duty hours of 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.