Be prepared for any natural disaster

National Preparedness Month in September became an annual event in 2004. The intent of the program is to educate the public about the importance of preparing for the kinds of threats and disasters facing us in the 21st century.

Statistics suggest that barely half of U.S. households have any kind supplies in store for an emergency, and even fewer have a plan for family members to follow in the event an emergency where communication and travel abilities are limited or cut off completely.

According to a statement recently released by the federal government, National Preparedness Month is to "... stress the importance of strengthening the security and resiliency of our Nation through systematic preparation for the full range of hazards threatening the United States in the 21st century, including natural disasters, cyber attacks, pandemic disease, and acts of terrorism."

The threat of disasters is all too real. There have been a number of major calamities during the last decade alone, with examples like Hurricane Katrina, which left countless people homeless, without food, water or communication.

Thousands of people had no where to go, and there were hundreds of deaths and countless injuries.

The most basic preparatory steps are relatively easy to achieve. Households need to have a supply of water, food, medical supplies, and sanitation needs must be addressed. The special needs of infants and people with medical problems require special attention. Be sure not to forget about the needs of your pets, as well.

A list of essential items as well as things that are nice to have can be found at:

Art De Werk is the Chief of Public Safety in Ceres