Don’t plan on a disaster, but get prepared for one during National Preparedness Month in September

With the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey still prominently on everyone’s mind, now is the perfect time for National Preparedness Month, or September as it’s more commonly known.

This year’s theme focuses on having a plan for when the unthinkable happens because “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

floodHaving a plan gives you the ability to respond to the challenges nature might throw at you quickly. Elkhart Public Library wants to make sure you have those plans in place.

This month, commit to research and read up on how to make an effective plan for your family and your business to respond in case of a natural disaster.

Books are a great place to start when you’re making a plan for how to respond to a disaster, and there are a number to choose from. To get you started, Elkhart Public Library’s research librarians can get you plugged into plenty of resources. The following is not an exhaustive list – instead, it’s just meant to get you started.


Are you Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Agency: FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
This guide was prepared using the available information, including research on what actually happens during disasters, but it does not include all possible variables or outcomes. The main goal of this guide is to be used to help people create, practice and maintain emergency plans.


The Disaster Preparedness Handbook: A Guide for Families
Author: Arthur T. Bradley, PhD
The handbook will help you create a practical disaster plan for your entire family, and it covers the 14 basic human needs that need to be at the forefront of any plan. The content has been well researched by an army veteran and current NASA engineer and can serve as a good starting place in creating a survival plan.


Just in Case: How to be self-sufficient when the unexpected happens
Author: Kathy Harrison
In a disaster zone, people cannot rely on public services to take care of their families. This book will give tips to survive when disaster strikes: take inventory, pack an evacuation kit, rotate your food supply, stay in contact with your loved ones and more.


The Disaster Recovery Handbook
Authors: Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber
When the unthinkable does happen, you need to know what to do next. Businesses and organizations will be disrupted by disasters, but they can be destroyed by those disasters if they aren’t prepared. This book offers strategies and practical guidance on how to come up with a recovery plan and how to implement it.


52 Prepper Projects: A project a week to help you prepare for the unpredictable
Author: David Nash
Through each project, this book will help teach you how to be self-reliant in the midst of a crisis. The projects will start at the very foundation of how to be prepared for disaster, and along the way, readers will gain more knowledge and become more self-reliant.


Having evacuation and recovery plans are essential for dealing with disasters, but the basis of those plans come from studying history. If we don’t understand the past, we are more likely to repeat it. Learning from past disasters is the only way to make future disasters more bearable and survivable by making ourselves more prepared, so here are a few titles to get you started.


The Unthinkable: Who survives when Disaster Strikes and Why
Author: Amanda Ripley
This book takes a closer look at various disasters from recent history, starting with the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917 and ending with the journeys of the 15,000 people in the World Trade Center on 9/11. With the help of brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts, Ripley sets out to understand how human beings react to danger and what can be the difference between life and death.


Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home
Author: Joe Klein
When two war heroes returned home, they wanted to continue serving their country. They each founded organizations providing space for veterans to come together and give aid to people in the midst of disasters. The Mission Continues and Team Rubicon have been on scene after disasters like 9/11, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and Superstorm Sandy.


Shall we wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office
Author: Tevi Troy
Whatever party leanings, Republican or Democrat, the person in the Oval Office needs to be able to have a handle on disasters affecting the nation. This book analyzes how recent history has seen an increasing number of disasters and how the nation looks to Washington leadership when disaster strikes. Troy focuses on the role of the president in response to tragedy, as well as how presidents in the past have responded.


Disaster! A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes
Author: John Withington
While it may seem as if havoc is increasing, Withington wants people to rest assured these disasters have been happening since the beginning of time. This look at current fears through the lens of past horrors reveals natural disasters and manmade destruction are as old as time. Taking a closer look at the Black Death in the 1300s, the Nazi Holocaust, train crashes, shipwrecks and more, you’ll find that hurricanes, threat of nuclear war and terrorist attacks are nothing new.


Here in northern Indiana, the threat of disaster from severe weather is not unimaginable. Snow storms and icy weather can cause destruction during the winter months, possible tornadoes during the spring and summer, and the chance of flooding at any time.

For those who want to learn more about the municipal response plans in the event of disaster or want to sign up to be a volunteer, here are some local resources:

Elkhart Emergency Management Department
Elkhart County Health Department Emergency Preparedness
Elkhart County Emergency Management
Northern Indiana chapter of the Red Cross

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