Preparedness Month Goes Virtual but Preparing for a Disaster Remains Very Real

Story by Melanie Derbes / Red Cross Cascades

“Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.”

Volunteer Jack Crowell responding to the Juniper Ridge Fire, near Bend, OR on August 15, 2020. Photo by Dale Kunce/American Red Cross

“Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.”

If you repeat this to yourself over and over, it sounds like a catchy tune, but it will also help you remember the steps you can take now to help you prepare for an emergency in the future.

September is Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross wants to help you get ready!

National Disaster Preparedness Month was launched by FEMA in 2004 to encourage all of us to be better prepared for a disaster.

The Red Cross joins FEMA every September in helping local communities prepare for the disaster they are most at risk for experiencing.

Times have changed since that first year, and with the onset of COVID-19, this isn’t your typical year of preparation.

So, to help you get ready the Red Cross Cascades Region is offering a different virtual class each week in September to help you prepare for a specific emergency you may face in your area.

The classes offered this year will prepare you for a house fire, earthquake, wildfire, and flood. So now you may be asking yourself a few questions:

  1. Why is preparing for these emergencies important? We’re glad you asked! Home fires are the most frequent emergency the Red Cross responds to. Earthquakes are a real possibility because the Pacific Northwest (PNW) is situated along the Cascadia Subduction Zone fault line. Wildfires are already affecting different areas throughout the PNW and the country. Flooding is another common disaster you may face in the winter and spring. When any of these disasters strike, help often takes time to arrive. The Red Cross wants to help you and your family prepare so you can quickly take action to help yourself and others and recover from the disaster.
  2. How will preparations for emergencies this year differ from previous years because of COVID-19? In addition to the regular steps you’d take to prepare for a disaster, the Red Cross has included ways to help you stay safer by adding additional hygiene items to your kit. We will also give tips on how to adhere to state and local guidelines regarding COVID-19 during a disaster, and how to care for others in at-risk groups.
  3. Where can I find the class information & register? To participate in these FREE classes, just hop on over to our site at for the list of dates, classes and the password you’ll need to join the class you wish to take. No registration needed.
  4. What can I expect in the virtual classes? Each class is one hour long so grab your favorite snack, pet or person, and join us to learn why preparation is important, how to build a kit, and how to make a plan. The disaster preparedness class you take will address needs specific to that disaster topic.

So now that we’ve covered what you need to know for Disaster Preparedness Month with the Red Cross, you should be singing, “Click the link. Take the class. Be prepared.”

“Click the link. Take the class. Be prepared.”

On that note, pun intended, we’ll see you on Mondays! 

Join us each Monday in September:

  • Monday, Sept. 7th – Home Fire Safety
  • Monday, Sept. 14th – Earthquake Safety
  • Monday, Sept. 21st – Wildfire Safety
  • Monday, Sept. 28th – Flooding Safety