National Preparedness Month
The Gulf Coast suffered some flooding and damage during last month’s Hurricane Isaac, but thanks to effective disaster plans in cities such as New Orleans, the region handled the storm effectively. This month is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and it serves as a reminder to planners that being prepared for unplanned disasters is a necessary responsibility.
Started in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Preparedness Month aims to inform and educate citizens and civic leaders about their duty to be properly prepared for potential natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes, as well as acts of terrorism. September was chosen to serve as the month of outreach about this topic following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2011. Federal agencies have expanded their efforts to help the public be more aware of their responsibilities during a time of disaster. Meeting planners know they are accountable for the safety of their groups during meetings and events. The National Preparedness Month website has resources for planners as well as individuals to access to help them get ready in case of an emergency.
FEMA established National Preparedness Month one year before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other cities along the Gulf Coast. Earlier this year, we talked with Bob Johnson, president of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which housed 25,000 displaced people following Katrina. He told us about the lessons learned during the crisis, and the interview gives some insight into how the center was prepared to react during Hurricane Isaac.
MORE: In case you missed it, Editor-in-Chief Christine Born expanded on an interview she did with Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who coordinated military efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, in a blog last week. Read the blog: Mission No. 1: Safety