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September Is National Preparedness Month: Are Your Insureds Ready for a Disaster?

September 11, 2019

September Is National Preparedness Month: Are Your Insureds Ready for a Disaster?

September is National Preparedness Month

Since 2004, the United States has observed National Preparedness Month each September. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, communities, schools, and businesses.

While National Preparedness Month is not limited to earthquakes, they certainly are a key potential emergency, and the Preparedness Month initiative distributes disaster awareness information to help the general public prepare for and respond to all hazards–from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. 

September was chosen as National Preparedness Month partly because the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is in mid-September, and partly because the tragedies of September 11, 2001 highlighted to the nation the importance of being prepared.

Help Your Insureds Get Ready

The U.S. government uses September to encourage all citizens to make their own survival preparations. Here are four key things you can encourage your insureds to do to prepare for emergencies:

  • Be Informed – Know when specific emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and winter storms may occur by paying attention to severe weather watches and warnings. 
  • Make a Plan – California is prone to many disasters, especially earthquakes, and all Californians should have a disaster plan. Prepare a designated communications plans for your home and have predetermined meeting locations that your family and/or friends know. Also review CEA’s preparedness resources.
  • Build an Emergency Kit – Every home and business should have a basic supply kit ready for any emergency, at any time of year. Make or print out an Emergency Kit Checklist to use as you assemble one. 
  • Get Involved – Disaster preparedness, response, and recovery takes the whole community to be effective. Support the cause by volunteering with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and getting trained in CPR or basic first aid.

Looking for earthquake preparedness tips? Use the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety to help you know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake to help you recover!

US Residents Remain Unprepared

The U.S. continues to be affected by multiple disasters—including the recent Ridgecrest earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, and floods. Yet despite these ongoing reminders, a significant portion of U.S. residents remain unprepared.

A recent national survey of U.S. homeowners revealed an alarming lack of emergency preparedness for both natural and man-made disasters. Among the most significant findings:

  • 45 percent of respondents—almost half—don’t know what items they should have on-hand in the event of an emergency. For those who did, the top-three items were food, water, and flashlights.

  • 60 percent of respondents have not created a disaster preparedness plan.

  • Nearly half (47 percent) have not made a preparedness plan because they have never thought about it. In addition, a third said they haven’t made a plan because of not knowing what to do or not having had time.

And, sadly, people continue to mistakenly believe that a disaster will never happen to them or cling to the myth that the government will bail them out.  

Prepare Yourself as Well - Utilize CEA’s Free Direct Mail

Part of your role as a trusted advisor is to help your policyholders overcome those misperceptions and understand the earthquake faults and risks nearest them. Now is a great time to do that because September is National Preparedness Month and October features the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on October 17.

Be sure to capitalize on the media buzz around these events and use them as a sales tool. One item that can help you with that is CEA’s direct mail, available in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and free to our Marketing Value Program (MVP) agents. CEA will not only personalize the mailers with your return address; we’ll pay the postage for you too. Just visit the agent store to order what you need.

If you were able to order the direct-mail pieces timed to this year's Great California ShakeOut, be sure to attach your address labels to the mailers and mail no later than October 9 to ensure your policyholders or potential new customers receive them prior to the ShakeOut on October 17. If not, you can still order traditional direct mail to use in the aftermath of the media buzz around National Preparedness Month and CEA’s advertising during October.

Don’t miss out on this free opportunity to educate your customers about earthquake preparedness and generate more business at the same time. Whether it's September or any other month of the year, disaster can strike at any time without warning. Working together, we can help Californians prepare by getting the earthquake insurance coverage they need, and help you prepare for your own success as well. And with September designated as “National Preparedness Month,” there’s no better time to start than now.

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