National Preparedness Month: Tips to Stay Prepared for a Disaster

National Preparedness Month: Tips to Stay Prepared for a Disaster – September is National Preparedness Month, meaning it’s time to break out your emergency preparedness plans and remind your family what to do in case of emergency! Whether it’s health-related or weather, read on for some tips on developing and executing a great emergency plan right now on Newsymom!

This is Public Health is brought to you in partnership with the Tuscarawas County Health Department.

If you’ve been watching the news (or scrolling through TikTok), you might’ve seen tons of videos of natural and health emergent disasters striking all over the world. Pakistan is experiencing massive flooding, currently estimated at over 1,300 people killed. Forest fires and droughts from a weeks-long heat-wave are being felt deeply in China. Here in the States, Kentucky is experiencing flash flooding, and Jackson, Mississippi doesn’t have access to clean water to drink or brush their teeth.

Upon seeing these events, it’s super important to communicate with your family about the plan of action when there’s a disaster, whether it’s health-related (such as COVID) or weather-related (tornadoes, fires, or floods). 

Keep this FEMA checklist handy for 12 easy ways to stay prepared for a disaster!

Let’s Talk About Preparedness

Regardless of the type of disaster, you should take these actions when exposed to any disaster:

  • Quickly assess the situation and protect yourself!

    Just like practicing a sport for your body to have muscle memory, practice your mind to think and react quickly. It can mean the difference between life or death. Make a decision and stick to it!

  • Get involved with preparedness training, volunteer programs, or meetings.

    If you need a pointer in the right direction, the Tuscarawas County Health Department co-chairs the Tuscarawas County Community Organizations Assisting in Disasters (COAD) with the Tuscarawas County Emergency Management Agency. This group works to ensure all residents and visitors in Tuscarawas County are prepared for public health emergencies and/or natural disasters. Meetings are held quarterly. If you are interested in attending these meetings please contact Natasha Yonley at (330) 343-5555 x. 171 or email at

  • Have an emergency kit of supplies and cash.

    Some things you might include in your kit are: lighters, candles, flashlights, batteries, drinking water, blankets, and flares. Once upon a time, a man in Oregon survived on Taco Bell sauce packets when he was stranded during a snow storm. Equip whatever makes sense for your survival!

  • Decrease the impact of potential hazards.

    For example, placing bags of sand around flood-prone areas of your home may help prevent water from getting in! Think about the different disasters you could experience and what you can do to minimize or eliminate threats to you and your family’s lives.

  • And finally, prepare your Family Emergency Action plan.

    Print it in a binder, hang the escape routes where you can see, and discuss it with your family! Get your kids involved in thinking about how they can save themselves in tough situations.

Put it to practice:

You have TEN MINUTES to get everything you need together in the face of an emergency. What would you bring?

How did you do? What would you do differently?

Resources for Emergency Preparedness

The Tuscarawas County Health Department wants to ensure you and your family are equipped and ready to handle whatever life throws at you. Take a look at the following resources to get your family talking about what to do in an emergency:

  • Are You Ready?

    An in-depth guide on what to do during emergencies of all kinds, from active shootings to winter storms. Utilize this document by reviewing all of its contents with your family, print it out, and keep it when you’ll need it!

  • Create Your Family Emergency Communication Plan

    – The plan with all the necessary contacts you and your family will need upon experiencing disaster. Print a copy for each person to carry in case you get separated!

  • Disasters and Emergencies

    – All the documentation you’ll ever need in one solid place for emergencies, including information about insuring your home and valuables. 

This is a look at the risk levels of each type of potential threat here in Tuscarawas County, according to the TCHD’s Emergency Response Plan (pg. 16). The highest level risks come from dam failure and extreme temps, but don’t let that stop you from taking precautions for earthquakes, drought, or tornadoes.

It doesn’t hurt to be prepared, so get started this month! Make the emergency preparation a fun, light-hearted time to spend with your family. You don’t necessarily have to use fear to keep your kids prepared.

Practice drills like they’re a game: score each person on who can do their job in the plan the fastest or safest! Preparedness is the most important skill to learn; safety is the reward!

The Tuscarawas County Health Department wants you and your family safe and sound, year-round! Visit them at to see what other preparedness services they offer you and your family.

Make sure to follow along on Facebook (@tchdnow) for the latest news and safety tips affecting the Tuscarawas County area.

Melissa Klatt


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