September is National Preparedness Month and Cobb & Douglas Public Health is urging the community to take time to understand their risk for natural disasters and how to prepare for an unexpected emergency. Emergencies can happen at any time, in any community. Hurricanes, tornado outbreaks, flash floods, historic earthquakes, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities can affect millions of people for days at a time.

This year, the National Preparedness Month message is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,” because disaster can strike at any time. The year’s theme focuses on being informed about how and where specific emergencies occur, building supply kits and getting involved with neighbors to make community plans, complete with detailed “playbooks” and readiness tips for each of the most common emergencies:

1. Earthquakes – Earthquakes can occur suddenly and be deadly. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass and falling objects.

2. Floods – Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere.

3. Hurricanes – Hurricanes have the power to cause widespread devastation and can affect both coastal and inland areas.

4. Tornadoes – Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms, and can cause death, injury and destruction within seconds.

5. Wild Fires – Wildfires can occur anywhere and can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources and agriculture.

6. Winter Storms – Winter storms can occur anywhere and bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds or a combination of all these conditions. They can cause power outages that last for days or weeks, making it hard to keep warm and travel very dangerous.

For more information about National Preparedness Month and for detailed information about the most common emergencies and how you can prepare, visit or call 1-800-BE-READY for more information. To view playbooks for each type of hazard, visit