Our country’s disaster preparedness system is really a matrix that starts with families and goes all the way to a coordinated federal response.  In between are local first-responders, county public health and emergency management, and state public health and emergency management.  But really- the real first first-responders are moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas and even kids.  That’s why family preparedness is so important.  The family is the first link in the preparedness chain.  

Last week’s tornadoes illustrate the need for personal and family preparedness.  Arizonans don’t typically encounter massive tornados, but we are vulnerable to many other kinds of disasters such as power outages, extreme heat, wildfires, pandemics, floods, and severe weather.   The best way to prepare for any kind of disaster is to be informed, make a plan, build a kit, and get involved.  You can get started with your family plan by using the resources at www.ready.gov.  Also, be sure to work with your family, friends, and the vulnerable people in your community to ensure that you have the information, plans, and supplies in place to survive, respond to and recover from the unexpected.  

Take a minute and talk with your family about personal and family preparedness.  You may even want to take the Pledge to Prepare by joining the National Preparedness Coalition.  As I mentioned before, it’s important to stay informed during a disaster, so be sure to visit the AZ Emergency Information Network for real-time emergency updates, and preparedness resources.