September Is National Preparedness Month

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, recognizes September every year as National Preparedness Month. To learn more, I spoke with Harley Gardner, the Emergency Services Coordinator for Highland County.

“It’s an annual observance to remind all Americans how important it is for individuals, families and communities, to prepare for disasters and emergencies that can happen at any time, and it urges all people to prepare to protect before the disaster strikes.”

“Their focus this year is on preparing prior to disasters, and what they’ve made an emphasis is: in the first week of September was to make a plan – your family or your business, to make a plan in case something does happen; and then the second week was to build a kit – there’s like a Go Kit, something that you can sustain yourself and your family for up to 72 hours, and we have lists and brochures on how to do that; and then the third week is emphasis on low cost or no cost, preparedness – it’s not like you have to go out and spend a whole lot of money to get ready – you know we can do this a little bit at a time; and then the fourth week will be an emphasis on teaching youth about preparedness.

Ho continued, ”Now there’s a lot of information available through FEMA’s website,  and there are free resources online which include social media content, multiple language brochures and things available – lots of information. And if anyone would be interested in contacting FEMA, the Office of External Affairs, they have given us a phone number, that is to be utilized by the public, and that is the Congressional Affairs Office at 202-646-4500. They can also be reached online at Also for everyone out there, FEMA offers free online courses on all kinds of things from Household Hazardous Materials to industrial accidents, so there’s a lot of information on the FEMA website.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this story on local emergency resources.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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