Disaster can strike at any time. Be prepared.

Over the past several weeks, we were reminded that disaster could strike at any time. The eastern seaboard had days to prepare for Hurricane Irene but was caught unaware when an earthquake struck just one week prior. Yet, in either case, a properly prepared home or business had a better chance of avoiding tragedy.

September is National Preparedness Month, the perfect time to reflect on what plans you, your family or your business has in place for disasters – predictable or not. Here are some of the best online tools you can use to make plans for your family or organize your community and spread the word on emergency preparedness.

Your one-stop-shop for all things preparedness is Ready.gov. The site walks you through a number of scenarios while demonstrating the best way to prepare and respond to an array of emergencies. Whether you live in “tornado alley” or on a floodplain, Ready.gov will arm you with the information you need.

You can add FEMA's Hurricane Preparedness Widget to your website by clicking the image above. The widget is available in both English and Spanish.

You can add FEMA's Hurricane Preparedness Widget to your website by clicking the image above. The widget is available in both English and Spanish.

For those who live along our nation’s coast, hurricanes and tropical storms are persistent threats. There is an abundance of information on hurricane preparedness and some of the most comprehensive comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’S National Hurricane Center helps you follow storms, determine when and where they will make landfall and will even send you alerts and warnings if you’re in harm’s way. Armed with information about the storm, you can also visit Ready.gov’s hurricane page to prepare your home, community or business for a hurricane.

Best of all, both NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offer social media tools allowing you to access critical information before, during and after a hurricane or storm. These tools can provide critical information to those in the storms path and evacuees displaced by a storm.

As a nation, we must remain vigilant. Whether manmade or a product of nature, disaster can strike at any time. Being prepared is the first step in ensuring the survival of you and your loved ones. There is no time like this month of national preparedness to ensure that all Americans are ready for whatever comes their way.

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