September is National Preparedness Month

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The summer is gone with a blink of the eye and now it’s September, already - “Emergency Preparedness Month.” Being prepared is really a year-round activity and when I say “prepare,” I mean in advance, before the emergency arrives.

While different types of emergency situations may require different types of preparation, there is one step that should take precedence – information gathering.

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The first type of information is personal and would include the identification of yourself and every member of your immediate family including full name, age, birthdate, home address, phone number(s), email address(es), relationship and work address for starters. This list should also include family members who live away from you whether across town or across the country. And, when it comes to you and your family, a list of basic health information, including chronic medical conditions, mobility challenges, medications and allergies can be life-saving.

You can make a hard copy for storage in your personal record file or keep it on a thumb drive or other digital media including your smartphone.

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Visit federal, state and local emergency management, suicide and crisis websites for information on local resources and hotlines. Identify the location and non-emergency phone numbers for the closest police station, fire department, as well as the nearest shelter or Red Cross facility.

Having this information gathered, organized and readily available can make a big difference in managing most any type of emergency situation you might face.

Give yourself the peace of mind that comes from having taken this important step in preparation.

We’ll have other preparation tips and resources throughout the month, so please like and share and check back soon.

James Benson, Chief Communications Officer

James Benson is a career public relations executive with over 38 years’ experience communicating with diverse audiences in a wide variety of venues. A retired Air Force officer, he spent the latter half of his Air Force career as a public affairs officer enjoying a series of one-of-a-kind positions with equally unique communication challenges. From arranging press conferences, to producing news and training videos, to explaining research, development and contracting issues to the media, he enjoyed tuning in to each audience to ensure the message was received and understood. As the marketing director of a mid-sized hospital, Mr. Benson directed the advertising and promotion of membership and referral programs and community health fairs, conducted outreach efforts to rural health care clinics and community education programs, created a trade show display and produced and hosted a radio health program. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Benson served as a senior public affairs executive responding to media requests, preparing senior officials and subject matter experts for media interviews, hosting a magazine-style television program with benefit information for Veterans and providing emcee support for numerous department and public ceremonies and special events. As an adjunct professor, Mr. Benson has taught classes in communications for the past 10 years. Currently, Mr. Benson is providing strategic communications, media relations and marketing support to B & G Educational Innovations, LLC, makers of ReaLifeSim clinical simulation training products