No one likes to be caught off guard, so why should being ready for an emergency be any different. September is National Preparedness month. Now is a good time to sit down and prepare for possible emergencies or disasters in your area.

First, be informed about the emergency risks where you are, be it at home, at work, or on vacation. Sure, there is a risk of fire just about everywhere, but what about earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or tornados? Know the potential emergencies for your locations.

Second, have a plan in place for when disaster strikes. How will you contact your family? Your office? Your school? Your daycare? Make a family communication plan so everyone can work together in the event of an emergency.

Third, assemble a disaster supply kit. This is a collection of basic items that you may need if you need to survive on your own after an emergency. Such kits generally include items such as food, water, a flashlight, a NOAA weather radio, first aid supplies, and a few tools. It is also important to keep the kit maintained and ready to use.

Do these steps now, in advance of an emergency. Hopefully you won’t ever have one. If you do though, you'll be glad you prepared in advance. You can find FEMA's template for a Family Communication Plan here.