The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is encouraging all Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies. National, regional, state, and local organizations will observe the fifth annual National Preparedness Month in September as part of the effort. Events throughout the month will draw attention to emergency preparedness throughout the nation.

“This is the time, each year, when every American should ask the question, 'Am I ready?'", said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. From wildfires and earthquakes in California, to hurricanes and tropical storms along the Gulf Coast, to flooding in the Midwest, recent events remind us more than ever that we must prepare ourselves and our families for a disaster.

"National Preparedness Month is an important reminder about each American's civic responsibility to prepare for emergencies," Chertoff said. "Those with the capacity and wherewithal to help themselves must do so in advance, so that in the event of an emergency, responders can first assist those who are unable to tend to themselves.

The Ready Campaign, (www.ready.gov) encourages individuals across the nation to take important preparedness steps that will greatly improve their ability to survive and recover from emergencies, whether natural or accidental. These steps include assembling emergency supply kits, developing emergency plans for family and business, learning about likely emergencies that occur, and getting involved in community preparedness and response efforts.

NPM coalition members are encouraging Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities by hosting events such as seminars, fairs, community outreach events, workshops, webinars, and training. For a complete list of events, please visit www.ready.gov.

For more information, individuals can call 1-800-BE-READY or 1-888-SE-LISTO for more emergency preparedness information.

Source: Department of Homeland Security