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.

December 2020 Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter

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Ready Tips

Get Ready for Winter Weather

It’s the holiday season, and cold weather is upon us! But don’t let the winter chill put a freeze on your readiness for winter weather. As you prepare for gift giving and the end of the year, take action for colder temperatures as well. Here are some tips from to help you get started.

Prepare for a winter storm. Know that winter storms can:

  • Last a few hours or several days;
  • Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and
  • Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk.

If you need to check on your neighbors, be sure to text, email, or call them while following the latest CDC guidelines for COVID-19. Tips on winter storm readiness and other hazards from and a new FEMA PSA now have information on how to stay safe during the pandemic.

Winterize your car. Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Some items to include are:

  • Jumper cables;
  • Sand or cat litter (for tire traction);
  • Warm clothes; and
  • An ice scraper.

Remember to keep the gas tank full and, if possible, have a professional check your battery, anti-freeze, and cooling system.

Know the difference between frostbite and hypothermia. Signs of frostbite include numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, and firm or waxy skin. Signs of  hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness. If you see signs of frostbite or hypothermia, act quickly!

Visit for more information.

Preparedness Starts with You!

How can you prepare for a winter storm? What are the best ways to protect yourself from a tsunami? Use FEMA’s new Protective Actions Research website and fact sheet to learn what you can do to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

The Protective Actions Research site is for everyone! Individuals and communities can learn more about how to prepare for emergencies. Students and researchers can find information about disaster preparedness. Emergency managers can find resources to develop messaging to share with the public. Join the research conversation by using the “Contact ICPD” button to share your questions and research. Read more…


CERT & Communities

New Webinar Series Presents 10 Steps to Preparedness

Join FEMA Region II as they host a new webinar series entitled, “Resolve to be Ready: 10 Steps to Preparedness!” Subject matter experts from each of FEMA’s 10 Regions will co-host 10 webinars in 10 weeks in partnership with Region II, featuring 10 steps to prepare in the new year. The topics range from how to make an emergency kit to preparing for and lowering the impact of COVID-19 on college campuses.

Beginning on Wednesday, January 6, the series will run every Wednesday through March 17, with the exception of January 20. Most of the webinars start at noon ET and will be recorded with captioning. Read more…

CERTs Respond to California Fires

As fires ravaged huge swaths of California this summer and fall, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) stepped in to help. For some, fire response was a new activity, while others have helped staff call centers and direct traffic during evacuations for years. As fires grow larger and more destructive, CERTs find their help is needed now more than ever. 

When numerous fires broke out in the steep terrain of counties surrounding San Francisco in August, 160 volunteers from 13 CERT programs jumped into action. In just two weeks in August and September, they logged 2,500 hours answering calls from the public. Callers asked about where they should go if evacuated, where to take their livestock, and when they would be allowed to go home. Read more… 

CBOs: Identify the People You Serve Before a Disaster Strikes

How would a snowstorm, flooding, or other disaster impact the people a community-based organization (CBO) serves? How would a disaster impact the organization itself? Those are important questions for nonprofits, small businesses, and faith-based organizations to explore as they plan for emergencies.

Identifying and understanding the needs of the people you serve is a key part of ensuring their needs are met during an incident. This is the third of 10 actions that CBOs can take to help ensure they are able to run smoothly during a disaster. These actions are outlined in FEMA’s new Organizations Preparing for Emergency Needs (OPEN) training.

Your CBO helps community members in unique ways every day. If your CBO closes during an incident, you may not be able to support the community in the same way. There’s also the possibility the people you serve may evacuate temporarily or for the long term. It’s important to understand your community’s needs so you can support them. Read more…

Get Involved in CERTs in Your Area

The CERT program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains members in basic disaster response skills. FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division creates programs, training, and tools to help CERT members to be ready when disasters strike.

Becoming a citizen responder and joining a local CERT is great way to stay involved and connected with your community. FEMA is proud to continue working hand in hand with CERTs across the country to offer tools, resources, and training curriculum that allow volunteers to safely and effectively strengthen their communities.

Are you already a CERT member? Are you in charge of your local CERT? Did you know FEMA recently updated its CERT Registration Site? Check it out today!

In Case You Missed It

FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division recently hosted a webinar featuring its updated Citizen Responder registration site. The webinar discusses the site's new features, design, and user capabilities. View the recording here.

Protective Actions and Alerts and Warnings

Join the Individual and Community Preparedness Division and FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) teams on December 9 at 1 p.m. (ET) to learn more about how FEMA’s Protective Actions Research site can help alerting authorities to share research-based guidance to the public during emergencies. During the webinar, ICPD will demonstrate the site, provide insight into how the research is developed, and highlight site features that can help alerting authorities to provide guidance to the public. Register for the webinar here. Enter event password “Preparedness” to join.


Children & Disasters

Kids’ Korner: Get to know YPC’s Wyatt Reed

Members of FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Councils help spread the word about the importance of disaster readiness in their communities. Arkansas is a leader in bringing together young people for the state as well as countywide councils. When the local emergency management director told students at Wyatt Reed’s high school about an opportunity to join one of these councils, he jumped at the chance to sign up. Now a high school junior, Reed is immersed in the world of emergency preparedness. 

“After that, my love and passion for emergency management took off. I loved getting to help people, and emergency management is the perfect field for it,” he says.

Reed is the co-chair of his county’s YPC council and won the Arkansas 2019 Individual and Community Preparedness Award for his work on the council. Reed has also been part of FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) since 2019 and co-chairs the FEMA Region VI YPC.

Reed has had ample reason to want to help his community prepare. The area suffered a tornado with winds over 135 miles per hour this this year, classified as an EF-3, on a scale in which tornadoes are rated from 0-5 in their severity. Read more…


Financial Resilience

Check Your Credit Report to Catch Mistakes

Keeping your credit options open in case you need a loan to rebuild after a disaster or if you are laid off from your job can help you be more financially resilient. Monitoring your credit report several times a year is one step in ensuring you have continued access to loans and credit cards.

Staying on top of mistakes or attempts at identity theft that you spot in your credit report also means you can catch problems that might lower your credit score. In addition, it can help motivate you to keep your credit score high to ensure you get the best interest rates on home loans or credit cards.

Your credit report outlines the credit cards and loans you have, along with your payment history and debt. It also indicates whether you have declared bankruptcy or been sued. Using this information, creditors calculate your credit score, which can range from 300 to 850.The higher your score, the lower your interest rate may be.

Three national credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — are required by law to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once a year if you request it. Through April 2021, you can order reports online weekly. Read more...


Important Dates


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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