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September is National Preparedness Month

Image of Margo Kerrigan Margo Kerrigan, M.P.H, Area Director

Indian Health Service California Area Office





September is National Preparedness Month

Ready Indian Country

Good preparations today can decrease fear, reduce losses, and speed recovery in a time of disaster or emergency. FEMA, which is part of the federal government, has a nation-to-nation relationship with Alaska Native and tribal governments as reflected in the FEMA Tribal Consultation Policy Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving FEMA works with tribal officials to help communities be prepared before an emergency and recover after disaster strikes.

The goal of Ready Indian Country is to collaborate with tribal governments to build emergency management capability and partnerships to ensure continued survival of Tribal nations and communities. Visit FEMA's Emergency Management Institute for additional information on training for Tribal Representatives Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving

Could you get along on your own for a few days if your reservation, village or pueblo experienced an emergency? Each family should make preparations now for immediate or potential situations that threaten life, property or the environment. Preparing today will speed up recovery time in an emergency.

Readiness Planning:

Build A Kit

Assemble enough emergency supplies for at least 3 days

  • Include pet supplies, medicines, diapers and infant formula, if needed.
  • Don't forget your tribal ID along with other important papers.
  • Use easy-to-carry bags or bins. Consider a second kit for the car.

Make A Plan

Pick a friend to call if you get separated from family

  • Know where to meet
  • Make a list of important information
  • Make a plan to evacuate
  • Make a plan to shelter in place
  • Talk with your family and tribe
  • Practice your plan

Be Informed About What Might Happen

Learn about the types of emergencies most likely to affect your community

  • Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances
  • Make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities

Special Considerations:

Readiness planning is essential for all American Indians and Alaska Natives, and there are special considerations when families live on tribal lands located far from urban centers. Consider the following as you make your readiness plans.

  • Communications: You should have at least one traditionally wired land-line phone, as cordless or cellular phones may not work in an emergency.
  • Transportation: Rural and reservation lands can be geographically isolated without easy road access or public transportation. If you or someone you know doesn't have a car, make alternate plans for transportation, such as riding with a neighbor.
  • Emergency Shelters and Food Sites: These sites may not be close by. Locate them ahead of time by asking the emergency planners for your tribe, village, or pueblo.
  • Elders: Older people have special needs in emergency situations. Consider medicines or medical supplies that are used regularly. Talk to hospitals, medical clinics, and other service providers about emergency plans. If electricity is necessary to operate medical equipment, ask providers what to do during power outages. Enlist family and friends as a support network, share emergency plans, and make sure another family member or friend has a key to the home.
  • Livestock: Prearrange a location and make plans for transport if you keep horses, cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs. Learn more about protecting livestockExit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving

Local Plans:


Each tribal government should develop its own plan for emergencies or disasters. Ask your elected tribal leaders about the plan for your community. Additional sources for information include tribal law enforcement, tribal fire departments, emergency response services, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service clinics and hospitals.

Links for more information: Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving