Preparedness Newsletter

This Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources, an important part of FEMA's mission to help people before, during, and after disasters. We're building a culture of preparedness together.

July 2021 Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter: Extreme Heat, Protect Yourself from Weather's Wrath, YPC, and More

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Ready Tips

Beat the Heat Safely

Heat waves occur every summer in many parts of the country. An extreme heat event happens when the temperature is more than 90 degrees and there is high humidity for at least two or three days.

That kind of heat can be dangerous, particularly for older adults and children. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards.

So, how do you stay cool when the heat is on? Try these tips:

  • Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees . You could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.

  • Find an air-conditioned location , like a library or shopping mall, to cool off if you don't have air conditioning at home. Make sure you follow all local guidance on wearing a mask and social distancing when entering a public building.

  • Keep your home cooler by weatherstripping doors and windows and closing drapes and blinds.

  • Check on yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.

  • Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day.

  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing .

  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

  • Avoid high-energy activities.

Extreme heat exposure can cause severe illnesses. Here's what to you need to know:

Heat cramps. Signs of heat cramps include muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs. If you see signs of heat cramps, go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.

Heat exhaustion . Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea, and vomiting. If you have signs of heat exhaustion, go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Call your health care provider if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.

Heat stroke. This condition is more severe than heat exhaustion and is life threatening. Call 911 or get the person to the hospital immediately if they show these signs: body temperature over 103 degrees, red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat, rapid pulse, dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness.

Visit for more information on keeping cool during hot summer months. CERT & Communities

New,  Illustrated Advice on Sheltering-in-Place Available

Do you know where to go when disaster strikes? Sometimes the safest thing to do is to stay inside (shelter-in-place) and take protective actions based on the hazard. Check out FEMA's new pictograms to learn where to go, what to do, and how long you should shelter-in-place for 10 types of hazards.

The pictograms show how to protect yourself in three types of buildings: manufactured or mobile homes, one- or two-story buildings, and multi-story buildings.

For example, if there's a chemical hazard in your area, you should go to a small, interior room and protect yourself from the contaminated air by using duct tape to seal doors and vents for a very short period of time. If a tornado warning is issued, you would go to an interior room, and take the added precaution of covering your body to protect yourself from debris. If you are in a mobile home, however, you should always evacuate immediately to a safer, more sturdy building especially if tornadoes and hurricanes are expected to hit your area.  Read More…

Protect Yourself from Weather's Wrath 

From tornadoes to hurricanes to wildfires, summer weather can pack a punch. But there are actions you can take to stay safe. FEMA provides research-based actions that you can take to prepare for, keep safe during, and recover from a disaster. Read More…

Cross-Train Key Staff to Keep Your Doors Open

Does your organization have an employee or volunteer who would make it nearly impossible to complete essential work if they didn't show up? You may be an expert at your job, but you may also need to know what your co-workers do or have been doing if they're suddenly unable to work.

Vital team members might need to take a step back if flooding affects their home. During a pandemic, you might be short-staffed due to illnesses or other emergencies.

As part of your organization's activities around preparing for emergencies, identifying key staff functions and developing strategies to backfill their roles are important steps to take if you want to keep your organization open. FEMA's Organizations Preparing for Emergency Needs (OPEN) can help. This is a critical part of preparing for a disaster, whether you're a nonprofit, small business, or faith-based organization.

When approaching the task of cross-training, consider these questions:

  • Which positions at your organization require cross-training?

  • How does your organization keep track of staff trainings, certifications, and qualifications?

  • Does your organization regularly offer opportunities for employees to train in different areas, such as disaster preparation or emergency management and communications?

Make sure you have an organizational chart and update it regularly. The first step in cross-training might be to develop a skills matrix that lists and tracks each person's capabilities. This tool could be valuable for leaders who need to delegate responsibilities during emergencies. Next, connect with your human resources department to help staff get the training they need to keep your doors open. Read More…

Children & Disasters

Gearing Up for the 2021 Virtual Youth Preparedness Council Summit

From Alaska to Massachusetts, ten new members have been selected for FEMA's Youth Preparedness Council (YPC). These ten new members will join five returning members this July for the three-day Youth Preparedness Council Summit. The theme for this year's virtual event is “Equity into Everything: Building a Culture of Resilience for the Whole Community.” The Summit will highlight diversity in disaster preparedness and focus on how we can better serve the whole community through collaborative preparedness-related activities and discussion.

Our newly appointed Council members are:

  • Ranjana Ramesh – Region I – Massachusetts
  • Megan Cameron – Region II – New York
  • Mirika Jambudi – Region II – New Jersey
  • Beitris Boyreau-Millar – Region III – Maryland
  • Aubrey Dockins – Region IV – Florida
  • Amira Seay – Region VI – Texas
  • Alexia Nastasia – Region VII – Missouri
  • Isaac Doll – Region VIII – Colorado
  • Shivani Jayaprakasam – Region X – Washington
  • Miles Butler – Region X – Alaska

With an already impressive dedication to preparedness and public service – training fellow cadets in Civil Air Patrol, advocating for pet safety considerations in disaster planning, encouraging mental health education, or promoting underserved community representation – these ten new members hope to make their communities safer and more resilient.  Read More…

Important Dates


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