NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - September has been 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.

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. Last April 30, 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 Sept. 30, and there are a variety of ways for communities to get involved.

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. At an individual or workplace level, this might include actions like making a communication plan or building an emergency supply kit. Communities can 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.

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"Although we do not have a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Team in place yet for New Providence, we are working on assembling one for emergencies," said New Providence Chief of Police Anthony Buccelli.

Communities that have identified a preparedness action can then register their event on the America’s PrepareAthon! website (www.ready.gov/prepare).