Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service prepares community members for disaster during National Preparedness Month

COLLEGE STATION Across the United States, September marks National Preparedness Month as a time to prepare for disasters. This year, the theme of National Preparedness Month focuses on preparing older adults.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the multitude of extreme weather events and emergencies we now face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability or live in rural areas.”

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) offers courses that prepare community members for all kinds of disasters. Recently, TEEX instructors traveled to provide the course “When Disaster Strikes: Prepare, Act, Survive” for a retirement community in the coastal city of Calabash, North Carolina.

In the day-and-a-half course, participants learn how to be prepared for and stay safe during disasters such as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. They learn about physical safety, including search and rescue, breaking through walls and using levers to move heavy items. Additionally, they discuss the importance of developing a family response plan and safeguarding personal documents. The course is funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is offered at no cost to participants.

Although many people are familiar with TEEX as a training provider for firefighters, police officers and other first responders, TEEX also trains everyday citizens to be prepared. TEEX has taught the “When Disaster Strikes” course to various community and nonprofit organizations, religious groups and other interested community members. TEEX instructor Nici English explains, “The more people in the community we can prepare, the better. The more prepared citizens are, the more weight it takes off of first responders.”

For more information or to schedule this no-cost course for your community or group, visit teex.org/class/per334.