FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
The theme of this year’s National Preparedness Month – Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today – has proven appropriate in 2020. So far this year, we’ve experienced a long list of perils that test our preparedness, resolve and resilience, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic that’s still going strong. As of Sept. 22, millions of people were infected and over a million have lost their lives worldwide.
Springtime weather also brought numerous storms and tornadoes to Midwest and Central states that caused significant damage. And over 118 wildfires have been recorded so far in Western and Rocky Mountain states resulting in the loss of many lives and incomprehensible damage to communities, personal property, wildlife and the environment. The U.S. has over 1 million wildfire refugees, according to reports from The Weather Channel, Newsweek and CNN. Smoke from the fires is even visible from space.
Additionally, The Weather Channel declared the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season as hyperactive with 23 named storms and eight hurricanes spinning across much of the Atlantic basin. By Sept. 21, 20 of those named storms had their earliest formation date on record, and 10 named storms formed in September alone – the most on record for the season’s busiest month. So far, nine storms have made landfall in the U.S. mainland and four were hurricanes.
Newscasts have also covered criminal and terrorist events in the continental United States and abroad. Many cities and states continue experiencing demonstrations and civil unrest from social injustice. These threats are real and remind us we need to remain vigilant to protect ourselves and the agency's mission. We all play a role in securing our support to warfighters, and if something is not right, we must act. The DLA iWatch program is an effective way to communicate concerns. If you see something, say something.
We don't know what awaits us this fall and winter. We could continue with our lives, react to whatever challenge presents itself and hope we can successfully deal with it. On the other hand, we can view recent disasters as opportunities to learn and take action to prepare. We could make a plan, build a kit, prepare for disasters and teach our youth about preparedness to be ready when disaster strikes. Like Benjamin Franklin said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." The National Preparedness Month campaign is closing, but preparedness should never stop.
For more information, visit ready.gov.