September each year in the United States is National Preparedness Month (NPM).
National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote personal, family, and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. The program is managed through The Ready Campaign, an effort led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In this episode of the Managing Uncertainty Podcast, Bryghtpath Principal & CEO Bryan Strawser discusses National Preparedness Month and how organizations can leverage the national campaign to push their own preparedness campaigns forward inside of their organizations.
Related Articles & Episodes
- Episode #6: Personal Preparedness
- Episode #14: Are you prepared this month?
- Episode #33: Communication and Awareness Strategies
- Blog: Four steps you can take today to improve your personal preparedness
- Blog: Personal Preparedness – Steps you can take today to improve the safety of your family when disaster strikes
Bryan Strawser: Hello and welcome to the Managing Uncertainty Podcast. This is Bryan Strawser, principal, and CEO at Bryghtpath. And since it’s the month of September, I want to talk a little bit about National Preparedness Month here in the United States.
Bryan Strawser: National Preparedness Month or NPM is an event that’s been recognized for many years now as a time in September throughout the whole month where the United States government, the Department of Homeland Security and particularly the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA used the month of September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year.
Bryan Strawser: The government does this through the Ready Campaign which is part of FEMA. The Ready Campaign really works to share information about personal and family and in community disaster and emergency preparedness throughout the year. They use the month of September as National Preparedness Month to really conduct activities and raise awareness of preparedness and the importance of preparedness across the country.
Bryan Strawser: Their theme for 2019 is prepared, not scared. Prepared, not scared. And each week, the Ready Campaign has a new theme and material and social media and hashtags and such that are organized around those themes. This year, the first week, September 1st through the 7th is focused on saving early for disaster costs. They’re trying to get folks to put money aside to deal with unexpected emergencies.
Bryan Strawser: The second week, week two, September 8th through the 14th is make a plan to prepare for disasters that we could really be focused on having a plan, making a kit, practicing that and being connected, being aware of being informed of the emergencies by making sure you’re signed up for alerts and things along those lines.
Bryan Strawser: Week three is September 15th to the 21st. That week’s theme is teaching youth to prepare for disasters. So really focused on children and the like. And then week four, September 22nd through the 30th the end of the month is about getting involved in your community’s preparedness.
Bryan Strawser: Now, we think here at Bryghtpath that National Preparedness Month is a great time for companies to get involved locally in preparedness efforts. Starting by just thinking about organizational relationships, public-private partnerships with your local law enforcement, fire service emergency medical providers and other groups that might be engaging in preparedness activities in the communities where you do business.
Bryan Strawser: And this is a great opportunity to participate in those events, have your employees participate in those events. Gain more awareness of what goes on in your local community and how you can form better partnerships with those folks that will be first responders to incidents at your place of business, but also find out how you can help them. Perhaps there’s some volunteer events that your business can engage in and things along those lines.
Bryan Strawser: But we also think that it’s a great month to use National Preparedness Month to drive your own communication and awareness messaging about your internal resiliency and preparedness efforts. And here, I think, there are usually two themes here that we think are good for companies to focus on.
Bryan Strawser: The first is for companies to look at how they can help their employees prepare themselves and their families more strongly than what they typically do. There’s always theming built-in to National Preparedness Month through the Ready Campaign about making plans to prepare for disasters and getting involved in community preparedness.
Bryan Strawser: So we think there’s a great opportunity to use this material that’s already been created for you by the Ready Campaign and just to encourage your team, your employees to learn from that by using the Ready Campaign messaging. And you can find that at ready.gov.
Bryan Strawser: But secondly, we think that this is a great chance to tell your internal story about preparedness and resiliency and things like business continuity, crisis management, and disaster recovery by including that messaging in some of the themes and material that you might share internally during National Preparedness Month.
Bryan Strawser: We think that there’s a great opportunity here to better tell your story around business continuity and crisis management and disaster recovery and perhaps even the other things that you do from a safety or security perspective to keep your employees safe while they work or while they travel.
Bryan Strawser: So we think there’s a great opportunity to really piggyback on that campaign. We often see companies just really struggle with how do you communicate what’s going on with some of these programs that honestly sometimes or maybe not that interesting. It’s a great way to kind of piggyback on that.
Bryan Strawser: What we encourage you to do is really think about … You don’t have to get too complex with this, but you can follow the themes for National Preparedness Month for this year or you can even come up with your own themes where the themes maybe don’t make sense. Like for example, this first week’s theme of saving early for disaster costs.
Bryan Strawser: While I think this is an important family and community preparedness issue, it might not resonate well with your employees, may not give you a good connectivity to what you’re doing at your company, so you can focus on something else.
Bryan Strawser: One of our clients, for example, instead of focusing on saving early for disaster costs with their team, their theme this week is to learn and practice life-saving skills, which is a theme from the 2018 National Preparedness Month, but it’s a great theme to use. We’re really focused here. Their messaging this week is really focused on how to maintain and protect your home during and after an emergency, looking at the flood damage and earthquakes and fires and smoke alarms.
Bryan Strawser: It’s about learning CPR and using an AED. It’s about learning the principles of stop the bleed, helping to reduce the loss of life through traumatic bleeding, about reviewing and practicing their internal site emergency plans. And then lastly, practicing their family plan. Practicing evacuating with their family and pets so that everyone is more comfortable if they need to evacuate in an emergency.
Bryan Strawser: So you can build a lot of interesting things. We really encourage folks to come up with themes that works well for your organization. Maybe you have digital screens for communication. Maybe you have an intranet site. Maybe you use something simple like Basecamp project management tool like we use here at Bryghtpath.
Bryan Strawser: But there are all kinds of different ways to do your messaging. You can use the graphics in other social media messaging that the Ready Campaign makes available for you online at ready.gov that you can use. Or you can come up with something very creative on your own or through your public relations firm or a graphic designer.
Bryan Strawser: We also think that using video is a very effective way of running your communication and awareness plan throughout National Preparedness Month. Most of us have smartphones in today’s world. You do not need a professional editing suite or lighting or anything like that. You could use your cellphone on a tripod or on some kind of device that holds it so you at least get a steady image and just talk for a couple of minutes about personal preparedness or whatever the topic is for your theme that week.
Bryan Strawser: For example, one of our clients is shooting a video about them building their emergency kit for their car and it’s just kind of walking through what’s in it and why he does it and how he keeps a copy between his wife’s vehicle and his vehicle. It can be something that simple. And with video, I would aim for something more authentic in a little more amateurish than something polished and super professional.
Bryan Strawser: So there are a few ideas on how you can leverage National Preparedness Month, but I would encourage you to get involved. I would encourage you to think about ways that you can piggyback your internal communications and awareness at your company using the themes and material that’s already out there for National Preparedness Month.
Bryan Strawser: Let us know what you’re doing by dropping us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or posting some of your images or material you’re willing to share on our Facebook page. That’s it for this episode of the Managing Uncertainty Podcast. Thanks for listening and we’ll be back next week with another new episode. See you then.