September is National Preparedness Month, and Army officials are reminding communities this year about how being prepared for crises can have a have a long-lasting impact on community safety.
September is National Preparedness Month, and Army officials are reminding communities this year about how being prepared for crises can have a have a long-lasting impact on community safety. (Photo Credit: Ready.gov photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT KNOX, Ky. – Crises can occur at any time; this month, Fort Knox officials are sharing about the long-lasting effects of preparedness.

Established in 2004, National Preparedness Month occurs every September to remind citizens about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies. Fort Knox Emergency Management specialist David Fusselman said although his office stresses the importance of preparedness year-round, this month calls attention to why it’s so crucial to always have a plan.

“Just look at the last 12 months in the state of Kentucky alone,” said Fusselman. “People out in Eastern Kentucky are dealing with flood waters; people in Western Kentucky are dealing with tornadoes.”

Fusselman said watching what residents in nearby regions are experiencing is a harsh reminder of the reason everyone should be diligent.

“We can hope that wouldn’t happen here, but we need to be prepared,” said Fusselman. “When something major like that happens, there are limited resources available.

“It’s dependent on you to take care of yourself the best you can.”

According to Fusselman, those limited resources are one of the biggest reasons to have emergency plans and supply kits ready in the event of a crisis.

“There are only so many agencies – so many firefighters, law enforcement [officers], ambulances – to respond when there’s a disaster of that scale,” said Fusselman. “They can’t help everybody. Preparedness can make a difference.”

This year’s theme is ‘A Lasting Legacy.’ Fusselman said it’s to help show people how personal preparedness can endure within their communities.

“If we as parents and grandparents teach our children how to prepare, it fosters a generation of people who do it on their own,” said Fusselman. “Taking care of yourself and passing it on to others is what I think the lasting legacy is all about.”

In addition to sharing the importance of preparedness, Fusselman said legacy is also about safeguarding what’s most meaningful.

“You build a life for yourself and your family,” said Fusselman, “so to not be properly prepared and protected, you’re potentially destroying what you’ve built.”

For those unsure where to begin making a preparedness plan, Fusselman said there’s a clear starting point.

“The first thing is just being informed,” said Fusselman. “Know what could happen, and now you know what to prepare for.”

Because the Fort Knox community is comprised of many Soldiers and Families who move often, Fusselman said to research what potential disasters can occur at each new duty station. He said then take action.

“The next thing is to put together a kit,” said Fusselman. “Include food, water and even medications you might need. The pharmacy might not be open, so you’ll want to have extra in your kit.”

Fusselman also pointed out the available online resources that can help with planning.

“There are several sites to go to for information,” said Fusselman. “There’s ready.army.mil that’s tailored to the Soldier community, and ready.gov gives good ideas for things to put in kits and other tips.”

Fusselman urged everyone to consider how important preparedness can be, especially since there is one main reason most people fail to prepare:

“Complacency,” said Fusselman. “When you see a disaster on TV and it doesn’t affect you directly, you get complacent.”

The hope, Fusselman said, is that this year’s theme will help citizens recognize the impact readiness can have now and in the future and compel them to make preparedness a priority.

“Always have the mindset to be prepared for the inevitable,” said Fusselman, “because eventually, something will happen.”