September is National Preparedness Month, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging individuals, businesses, and communities to take action by following health and safety tips to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters. Emergency preparedness is especially important as the west coast responds to wildfires, the midwest recovers from historic flooding and communities on the Gulf Coast, and the East Coast continues to respond and recover from the impacts of Hurricane Ida.
In addition to taking short-term actions to prepare for the impacts of natural disasters, many communities and municipalities across the country are planning ahead by engaging in sustainability and resiliency planning.
Supporting emergency preparedness is one of the many ways that the EPA protects human health and the environment.
“From wildfires on the west, to Hurricane Ida, to flooding in the Midwest, climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, which means an increased need for preparedness,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As an agency, it is our duty to ensure we are helping others disproportionately impacted by these impacts, especially those living in underserved communities. Providing the public with information to prepare and plan for environmental emergencies reduces health and safety risks for individuals and their families.”
Based on scientific data and historical patterns, it is projected that the effects of climate change will continue to increase the frequency of natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. Vulnerable communities have an increased risk from the impacts of climate change and the effects associated with natural disasters. EPA continues to work with vulnerable communities to ensure equal access to the decision-making processes related to emergency preparedness.
Individuals, businesses, and communities can use the following tips to prepare for environmental emergencies and disasters:
- Review EPA’s tips for general emergency preparedness
- Access EPA’s resources for creating healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities
- Follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance related to COVID-19 health and safety
- Access available resources for emergency preparedness at ready.gov
- Use the emergency preparedness resources available from your state, local, and/or tribal community
The EPA has an active role in preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery related to oil spills; chemical, biological, radiological releases; and natural disasters. In addition to working with other federal agencies to provide emergency response support, the Agency provides assistance to states, local governments, and Tribes when additional resources are needed or have been exhausted.