Home Emergency Management News FEMA Encourages Participation in America's PrepareAthon!

FEMA Encourages Participation in America's PrepareAthon!


FEMA hoping for nationwide participation

April 30th, 2016 will be the first day of action this year for America's PrepareAthon! and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging nationwide participation by communities, organizations, and individuals to help build resilience through drills and exercises, and through group discussions. National days of action are held twice each year, April 30th and during National Preparedness month on September 30th.

The campaign is based on Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8) which directs all federal agencies and stakeholders to work together at every level to "coordinate a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness, including public outreach and community-based and private-sector programs to enhance national resilience…"

Website offerings

The America's PrepareAthon website offers 10 ways to help communities participate in the initiative that ultimately helps build community resilience.

It offers interactive sections on such things as how to conduct an exercise and test communication plans. It also encourages communities and individuals to know and understand local hazards, and provides links and additional information and resources regarding the hazard and its risks.

The information available includes other languages, videos, family emergency plans, understanding alerts and warnings, and a comprehensive home preparedness guide that details information on what to do before, during, and after each specific hazard.

The campaign also encourages interactive communication by offering a way to post area activities, along with forums that cover topics such as pet preparedness, PAWS alerts and warnings, and questions/answers.

How to get involved

The idea behind the PrepareAthon! campaign is to encourage the participation of all stakeholders within communities by helping them engage in preparedness activities and share knowledge and resources easily through the interactive website. The website offers many options for becoming involved; here are just a few ways to participate:

Public Agencies & Communities

  • Engage community leadership in preparedness plans to build resilience.
  • Develop and test emergency communication plans.
  • Conduct a scenario-based continuity of operations (COOP) hazard specific tabletop exercise for an organization/facility.
  • Host or participate in a preparedness class or training exercise.
  • Promote any events locally and through the PrepareAthon! website to encourage participation.
    • Promote via local media outlets.
    • Promote via public announcements/broadcasts.
    • Promote via social media outlets, including Twitter and Facebook.

Individuals & Families

  • Participate in community preparedness classes, training exercises, or drills.
  • Learn how to prepare the home for the areas specific hazards.
    • Learn about the area hazards and their risks.
    • Learn what each alert and warning means.
    • Develop an emergency communication plan.
    • Secure the home by taking appropriate steps to mitigate damages by area specific hazards.
    • Document valuables and ensure the safety of important paperwork.
    • Have a family emergency plan for hazards, adjusting the plan as needed for each scenario (wild fire evacuation, flooding, etc.).
    • Develop an emergency kit that contains items necessary to survive for at least 72 hours, the time it is likely to take for first responders to rescue family members. Be sure to include items for family pets.

Help encourage resilience

Through America's PrepareAthon! campaign, communities and families can become more prepared to handle local hazard risks and potential disasters, increasing resilience nationwide, but only if people participate.

FEMA is encouraging everyone to help spread the word!

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.