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.

September 2020 CBO OPEN Training

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CERT & Communities

FEMA Releases New Training for Community-Based Organizations

Attention all Community-Based Organizations (CBOs)! In support of National Preparedness Month, FEMA recently released a new preparedness training to help you better prepare for disasters. Organizations Preparing for Emergency Needs (OPEN) is designed for CBOs, including small businesses and nonprofits that support their local communities. Please consider taking this new and engaging course and watch this video to learn more.

You can also join FEMA on Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. ET to discuss the new OPEN training, and how it will help CBOs prepare for incidents and continue providing services after a disaster. To register, click here.

According to the American Red Cross, 94 percent of small business owners believe a disaster could affect their business within the next two years. Disasters provide CBOs with unique challenges. For example, what happens when childcare centers and food banks are unable to reopen after a disaster occurs? With this valuable training, CBOs are empowered to prepare for disasters and continue to provide vital community services during times of need.

OPEN training will help you:

  • Learn 10 actions you can take to keep your organization operating in the event of a disaster;

  • Create a path forward to develop a disaster response plan;

  • Ensure the safety of workers and individuals; and

  • Stay strong in the face of all emergencies, including a pandemic.

FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan commits to training CBOs and non-profits to help them continue providing services after a disaster. These entities include, but are not limited to, faith-based organizations, food banks, childcare centers, shelters, and small businesses. They serve to strengthen their communities and provide help in “blue-sky” days and during emergencies, when need for their services may surge.

FEMA realizes that when CBOs are unable to operate during a disaster or emergency, the people who rely on them are left at risk. This can cause those affected by a disaster to be even more deeply impacted. OPEN allows CBOs to prepare for emergencies and continue serving their communities.

The OPEN training offers individual and group learning. It includes a web-based, self-guided training as well as an instructor kit available for download. These tools guide participants on how to identify risks, locate resources, and take preparedness actions. With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting our communities, the training includes information that will help organizations navigate this and future pandemics. The training teaches 10 preparedness actions that can improve an organization’s resilience.

Are you the owner of a small business? Do you operate a volunteer organization or nonprofit that provides essential services to your community? Do you have a plan in place to continue working should a disaster affect your operations? How will your supply chain be affected by a disaster? Ensure you remain “OPEN” for business even after an emergency occurs.

For more information on OPEN and to take the training, please visit


Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services, or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting - - TWITTER: @Readygov


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