MONTCLAIR, NJ - September is National Preparedness Month (www.ready.gov/september), which aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies.

This year’s theme, Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,encourages people to be aware of the disasters that may occur in their area and then take action to be better prepared.

Captain Kenneth Misca, Jr. of the Montclair Police Department is also the Acting Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Coordinator for Montclair. 

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Capt. Miscia encourages families to be prepared in case of emergency and to practice the drills as a family with and without electronic communication. He also recommended that every family create an 'emergency preparedness kit' and review its contents annually. Miscia said, "This would be a great time to create your 'emergency preparedness kit' and prepare your families in case of emergency." 

Individuals can prepare in the home or workplace by making a communication plan or building an emergency supply kit.

"If you do not have a kit, you can log onto www.ready.nj.gov. They have information on how to create your kit and other tips for preparing your family in case of emergency," added Miscia. "This would also be a great time to practice emergency plans with your family and prepare a common place for you to meet up in case of emergency and also in case you lose touch through usual modes of communication, a family meeting place is best."  

America’s PrepareAthon! was launched as a community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness at the grassroots level by motivating the public to take action through such steps as drills, group discussions and exercises. On April 30, 2014 more than 5 million individuals participated in preparedness activities across the Nation as part of the first America’s PrepareAthon! The second America’s PrepareAthon! Community Day of Action will take place on September 30th and there are a variety of ways for communities to get involved. 

Miscia explained that the Township of Montclair has not planned any event for this year as they have in year's past since Miscia and his coordinators will be in a training session for the day. However, he encourages families to use this annual event to get reacquainted with security and emergency preparedness plans that residents have created for their families.

Montclair State University, who has their own OEM officer for the campus, will be planning a day of activities for students.

Communities can begin planning their PrepareAthon! event by identifying the hazards that could happen in their area and developing their own activity to address those risks.  Communities can also take action to prepare by coordinating with local emergency management agencies, first responders, fire, police, or public health departments to develop a community-wide drill.

There are other community-based activities taking place around the country such as those in earthquake-prone areas. For instance, earthquake-prone areas will be planning the Great Shakeout, a worldwide earthquake drill on October 16th

Once communities have identified a preparedness action, they can register their event on the America’s PrepareAthon! website (www.ready.gov/prepare) and join millions of Americans who are doing their part to be more prepared.