Special Feature: Safety and Preparedness

Safety and Preparedness photo collageEvery year, communities across the country experience a range of incidents—from natural disasters to deliberate acts—that challenge security and resilience, and confirm the need to continuously enhance preparedness. Incidents of mass violence and terrorism—bombings, mass riots and shootings, hijackings, bioterrorism attacks, and other human-caused disasters—present unique challenges to the communities in which they occur.

National Preparedness Month is recognized every September and serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of emergency preparedness. It’s a chance to encourage all Americans to better prepare their homes and communities for emergencies, and to recognize the contributions made by our nation’s emergency response personnel.

Research on preparedness shows that people who believe themselves “prepared” for disasters often aren’t as prepared as they think.

Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning, forcing families to evacuate their neighborhoods or confining them to their homes. Knowing what to do is an individual’s best protection and responsibility. Tools exist to help in the development of a family emergency plan.

Through the Helping Victims of Mass Violence & Terrorism online toolkit, guidance and resources are provided to help communities develop a comprehensive victim assistance plan that can be incorporated into an emergency response plan.

From a law enforcement perspective, agencies can leverage existing resources while enhancing public safety through volunteer programs. These programs allow agencies and officers to focus on policing and enforcement functions by providing supplemental and support services. At the same time, such programs create valuable ties between law enforcement and members of the community.

Through Citizen Corps, individuals can learn about opportunities to get involved and help build capacity for first responders. With proper training and education, civilian volunteers expand the resources available to states and local communities.

In recognition of National Preparedness Month and for use throughout the year, NCJRS offers this information for communities, first responders, and those who wish to volunteer before, during, or after incidents. Please select an option from the section at the right under the heading “Safety and Preparedness” to learn more.