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As Regional Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families Region III, I’m proud to announce our active participation in National Preparedness Month throughout September. We join others at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency and countless state and local organizations to emphasize the life-saving importance of preparedness for our families, co-workers, grantees and communities. Disasters can happen anywhere and this blog in honor of National Preparedness Month is designed to provide you with some useful information to help you get ready.

As demonstrated by the recent earthquake in Napa Valley California, you know that emergencies happen unexpectedly in communities just like ours, to people like us. Everyone is impacted by a disaster; from young to old, from the affluent to the economically challenged from native-born to those who recently immigrated; everyone feels the effects of a disaster in their community.

Take a look at a very interesting infographic from ACF’s Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response. Everyone in our country lives in a potential disaster zone. Whether it’s from an earthquake, hurricane, industrial or nuclear plant accident or severe weather, we all live, work and play in an area that could be hit unexpectedly. It’s for that exact reason that we made the decision to join National Preparedness Month again this year and become more prepared to face an emergency.

We are encouraging the staff here to talk with their families about creating an emergency plan at home. Since everyone may not be together when an emergency happens, it is critical to have a plan in place for communicating and staying safe. Simple things like establishing an out of town contact and sharing contact information may seem small, but they have a huge impact when an emergency strikes.

As a part of National Preparedness Month, ACF’s Region III will conduct a number of activities during the month of September. The activities are designed to better inform and prepare our staff members and State and community partners for dealing with the effects of a disaster in our area. Some of the activities planned include:

Sept. 11: Regional Office staff training on the National Disaster Recovery Framework and the Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function

Sept. 18: Coffee “BRAKE” for Preparedness in the Region III office suite. The Regional Emergency Preparedness Specialist and an Emergency Response Readiness Force member will highlight demonstrations of disaster apps for smart devices as well as brochures and pamphlets on personal and family preparedness from FEMA and Ready.gov. Coffee, donuts and muffins will add to the “BRAKE”