KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Recent world events have demonstrated the importance of having a plan when disaster strikes. National Preparedness Month serves as a reminder to take action, now and throughout the year, to prepare for disasters and emergencies that could affect us.

This year's theme is "Disasters Don't Plan Ahead. You Can."

U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Commander Col. Keith E. Igyarto encouraged community members to take this opportunity to remind themselves of the important role that preparedness plays.

"In a military environment, we are used to planning and preparing for events, situations and possible actions," he said. "It's equally important for us to be ready for those things we don't traditionally think about responding to -- the unexpected natural disasters or emergencies that can occur. As part of that, I strongly recommend that everyone, including family members, self-register to receive local emergency messages on the AtHoc system via the garrison website (link below)."

The Army continues to improve its preparedness posture in order to prevent, protect against, mitigate the potential effects of, respond to, and recover from incidents in order to protect the Army community and its resources, and ensure the continuance of essential missions, according to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, G-3/5/7. Efforts include modernization of emergency management (EM) equipment such as mass warning notification systems, EM courses and curriculum and continued emphasis on the Ready Army campaign.

Garrison Emergency Manager Melvin Wilson explained that the Ready Army campaign calls the Army community to action and aims to create a culture of preparedness that will save lives and strengthen the nation.

"Ready Army is the Army's proactive campaign to increase resilience of the Army community and enhance the readiness of the force by informing Soldiers, their families, Army civilians and contractors of relevant hazards," Wilson said.

Ready Army encompasses four pillars: Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Get Involved.

Be Informed
The garrison utilizes a mass notification system called AtHoc to keep community members informed. Registered users receive emergency warnings and other critical information, such as hazardous road conditions, reporting delays and base closures. Instructions on how to register for AtHoc may be found at www.rp.army.mil/AtHoc.htm.

Make a Plan
Families are encouraged to make and practice an emergency plan.
"Consider the range of potential emergencies and all the places you and your family might be," Wilson instructed.

Build a Kit
The kit should enable you to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours while emergency responders are addressing the most critical needs. Basic survival items for preparedness kits can be found on the internet.

Get Involved
The Army encourages all individuals -- Soldiers, families and civilians -- to play a role in preparedness by pledging to prepare and promoting employees and partners do the same.

USAG RP Emergency Management is here to help. For assistance with making a plan, building a kit, or any other readiness procedures, call DSN 541-3009.

The official observance may only last one month, but the Ready Army campaign works year-round to ensure members of the military community are ready for the unexpected. For more information, visit www.ready.army.mil.