Part II: “Prepare Your Health” This September

September is National Preparedness Month and North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) is teaming up with local and national agencies to spread advice on how to #PrepYourHealth by being prepared for a variety of potential disasters and public health emergencies.

Read Part I of our “Prepare Your Health” blog series here, which highlights three categories of preparedness: Take Action, Plan Ahead and Create Community.

Two additional considerations the public is encouraged to think about during National Preparedness Month revolve around ways people can work together to help others be prepared:

  • Meet People Where They Are
  • Bring Down Barriers

Meet People Where They Are

To “meet people where they are” means to create opportunities and conditions for the whole community to prepare for, and respond to, emergencies that may arise. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), “preparedness is a shared responsibility; it calls for the involvement of everyone — not just the government — in preparedness efforts. By working together, everyone can help keep the nation safe from harm and help keep it resilient when struck by hazards, such as natural disasters, acts of terrorism and pandemics.”

These efforts include proactively thinking about the whole community and how for various reasons, some people have limitations impacting their ability to be prepared — some of these limitations include economic stability, education access and quality, health care access and quality, housing, availability of healthy foods, air and water quality, and access to high-speed internet.

Bring Down Barriers

Long-standing systemic and social inequities have created health disparities that put many people, including people with disabilities and from racial and ethnic minority groups, at increased risk during and after disasters.

When making plans for emergency response, keep in mind barriers for others’ participation in emergency response efforts. Some of the most common barriers include communication (hearing, vision, speaking, reading, writing, understanding), programmatic (scheduling, including unpredictable work hours or unemployment), social (long travel distances, physical barriers, limited or no access to computers, stigma, prejudice, racism, ableism, discrimination) and transportation (limited or no access to accessible transportation, physical barriers and stigmatized attitudes toward people with disabilities).

Emergency preparedness and response equity occurs when everyone can be as prepared as possible. Having a conversation and taking a few simple steps with your North Dakotan neighbors can help our state stay strong and ensure everyone has a plan for potential disaster situations.

All North Dakotans are encouraged visit for emergency preparedness resources.

Adapted from and