The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is recognizing September as National Preparedness Month. The yearly observance is designed to raise awareness about the importance of being ready for disasters and emergencies that can happen at any time.

In Santa Barbara County, this year’s theme of Take Control in 1,2,3 focuses on preparing older adults for disasters.

“Year round you hear from our team to take action in the face of emergencies and disasters. In the month of September we’re calling on you to take action to prepare,” said Kelly Hubbard, county Office of Emergency Management director.

“Our communities have been impacted this year alone by significant storms, a tornado, earthquakes, fires and heat events, just to name a few,” Hubbard said. “During National Preparedness Month, take steps to ensure your personal safety and your family’s wellbeing.”

This National Preparedness Month, OEM urges community members to take the following actions in September:

• Make or Update Your Disaster Plan: Creating a disaster plan is an essential part of preparing your family for a disaster or emergency. Discussing what you will do before, during and after an emergency will empower your family to take control of their own safety and survival during a disaster.

• Build or Refresh Your Disaster Supply Kit: Ensure you have basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. When building your kit, remember to factor in medications and mobility or assistive devices you depend on. Prepare those supplies for home, work and vehicles.

• Make Sure Pets Are Included: As important family members, pets need to be included in the family’s emergency plan. Advance planning is often needed for large animals, such as horses, including transportation and sheltering in the event of an evacuation.

• Meet Your Neighbors: During a disaster, knowing your neighbors and any special considerations they may have can be lifesaving.

• Sign Up For ReadySBC Alerts: To receive these official messages from the county, you must sign up for alerts. If you’re already signed up, confirm or update your account information this month.

• Get Familiar With Learn more about local hazards and how to best prepare for yourself and your loved ones.