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National Preparedness Month: A Guardsmen call for readiness

The Air Force smartphone application Be Ready is seen on the screen display of a phone Aug. 1, 2015. The mobile app complements the Air Force Emergency Preparedness Guide. (US. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

The Air Force smartphone application Be Ready is seen on the screen display of a phone Aug. 1, 2015. The mobile app complements the Air Force Emergency Preparedness Guide. (US. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Disaster preparedness commonly conjures up images of camo-clad doomsday preppers equipped with robust survivalist skills and three-year's worth of nonperishables stashed in a nuclear-hardened bunker.

And then there are those who keep a first aid kit in the trunk of their car and hope for the best.

The goal of National Preparedness Month, occurring annually in September, is providing information that can place individuals somewhere between the aforementioned extremes. And while Guardsmen may practice combat readiness, that doesn't help much during a hurricane or a blackout.

"While we all know that being prepared is something that should be a focus year round, the month of September emphasizes the need to have a plan in the unfortunate case of an emergency," said Staff Sgt. Scott A. Burr, 111th Attack Wing ground safety technician. "Acting now on a [disaster readiness] plan could very well save a life in the future.  Each week during this month sites like [http://www.ready.gov/september], have a significant designation including floods, wildfires, hurricanes and power outages." 
 
Military OneSource's September Newsletter site, accessible on the 111th Attack Wing website's Airman & Family Readiness page, transfers users to a page dedicated to preparing, planning and staying informed before, during and after emergencies. And the importance of disaster readiness is not being overlooked on even most senior levels.

"Every year, communities across our country face emergencies -- from unforeseen natural disasters to deliberate acts -- that test our Nation's grit and challenge us to overcome tragedy," stated President Obama in a presidential proclamation Aug. 31, 2015. "While my Administration is working to keep all Americans safe, each of us can do our part. Together, we can protect our families and help our communities by planning for emergencies and for the unexpected."

Have a smartphone?

"The Air Force has its 'Be Ready' app," said Senior Master Sgt. John Hertler, 111th Attack Wing Emergency Management Office. "The app is easy to use and it has listing of key numbers, websites, a family plan, and other functions."

Hertler recommends that all Guardsmen with a smartphone download the free app.
"You never know what's going to happen," Hertler said. "[Everyone] should be prepared to take care of [themselves] and [their families] in case of a crisis."

For more information on disaster preparedness or accessing resources, contact the 111th Attack Wing Emergency Management Office at, (215) 323-8233. Information is also available by going to The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency site, http://www.fema.gov/plan-prepare.National