Information, planning, kit preparation, involvement save the day during emergencies

(Photo credit: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration)

By Fort Benning Emergency Management

FORT BENNING, Ga. (Sept. 27, 2017) – September is National Preparedness Month, a Federal Emergency Management Agency campaign to encourage individuals, families, and organizations to prepare themselves for unexpected situations.

The Ready Army program is the Army’s campaign to increase the resilience of the Army community and enhance readiness for a wide range of hazards. For the Fort Benning area, the most notable hazards are severe thunderstorms and tornados.

The program encourages the Fort Benning Community to “prepare today for the hazards of tomorrow,” said Terry Wydra, Fort Benning’s installation emergency manager.

The ready army program has four tenets: be informed, make a plan, build a kit and get involved.

Be informed
Fort Benning uses a mass warning and notification system to reach the community in the event of a potential emergency, which includes outside sirens and voice and data messages sent by telephone, cellphone, text, and email. A test of the outdoor warning is conducted every Saturday at noon.

“We constantly have new Soldiers and family members coming to the installation, and we want to make sure they are always prepared,” Wydra said. “Those coming from installations in different parts of the country may not be aware of severe weather hazards in the southeast, and we want to educate them on how to be prepared.”

Make a plan
According to the Ready Army website (, Families should prepare several emergency plans. Plans should consider the range of potential emergencies, all the places you and your Family might be and where to go in case you get separated.

“Other than just being prepared, we want families to sit down and discuss the procedures they’ve set up and what they would do during different types of emergencies,” Wydra said. “If one spouse is at work and the other is home, what are the protocols? What should the kids do if they are out playing, or at a friend’s house? Families need to discuss as many situations as possible and plan for them accordingly.”

Build a kit

To prepare for an emergency, get one or more emergency kits that include enough supplies to meet your essential needs for at least 72 hours. Kits should be at home and in cars, and children should know how to access and use the materials.

Suggested basic items to consider for a kit include:

  • Water – at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days
  • Food – nonperishable food for at least three days. Consider items that do not require cooking and will maintain freshness for several months such as canned food, energy bars, freeze dried foods, and dehydrated foods.
  • Formula and diapers for infants
  • Food, water, other supplies, and documents for pets
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlight, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration battery-powered weather radio, battery-powered cellphone charger, and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and prescription medications
  • Sanitation supplies such as moist towelettes, disinfectant, and garbage bags
  • Important documents in watertight packaging – personal, financial, and insurance
  • Local maps and your command reporting information
  • Five-gallon bucket with plastic bags for use as a portable toilet
  • Cash in small denominations

Get involved

Besides just making an emergency plan and having kits ready, Family members are encouraged to get involved with the community in its efforts to prepare for disasters. They are encouraged to discuss emergency protocol with neighbors and friends, and ensure that someone who lives farther away – an extended Family member or trusted friend – can be a point of contact.

For more information on how to be prepared, visit the Ready Army website at

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