April is America's PrepareAthon month

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. James Grunhard
  • 99th Civil Engineer Squadron
Everyone plays an important role in bolstering our preparedness for hazards of all types. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has launched the "America's PrepareAthon" campaign to build and sustain national preparedness.

Thousands of individuals, organizations, schools, and local governments across the nation are actively participating in America's PrepareAthon, a movement to increase individual and community preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises.

As with many life events, preparation is the key to success. When you prepare and practice for an emergency in advance, it makes a real difference in your ability to take immediate and informed action when it matters most.

Early action can also help you to recover more quickly -- this is why you should always have a plan no matter where you are. Here in Nevada we face events such as wildfires, flashfloods, earthquakes and microbursts.

These no-warning hazards can be life threatening and as a community we must be prepared to face them. 

A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted fire in a natural area, such as forest, grassland, or prairie. As building development expands into these areas, homes and businesses may be situated in or near areas susceptible to wildfires, which could lead to damaging resources, destroying homes, and threatening the safety of the public and firefighters.

Practice how you will communicate with your coworkers or family members. Remember that sending texts is often faster than making a phone call. Keep important numbers written down in your wallet not just on your phone. It is sometimes easier to reach people outside of your local area during an emergency, so choose an out-of-town contact for all family members to call or use social media.

Decide where your household members will meet.

Nellis Air Force Base and the Las Vegas area receives about 4.2 inches of annual rainfall and Henderson receives about 6.9 inches of annual rainfall. Flashfloods occur very quickly with little or no warning. They can shut down roads and highways, spread debris, and cause fatalities or serious injuries to those swept away or trapped.

Know your evacuation routes, plan your transportation and a place to stay, practice how you will communicate with family members and purchase flood insurance.
An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the Earth caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time. Earthquake shakes can be mild and can become extremely violent. Secure items that may fall and cause injuries, practice how to drop, cover and hold on, stand in a doorway, and if outdoors stand away from anything that may fall such as trees or telephone poles.

It is also a good idea to store critical supplies and documents and plan how you will communicate with others.

A microburst is a downdraft that is less than 2.5 miles in scale. Some microbursts can pose a threat to life and property, but all microbursts pose a significant threat to aviation. Although microbursts are not as widely recognized as tornadoes they can cause comparable, and in some cases, worse damage.  In fact, wind speeds can reach as high as 150 miles per hour.

Be aware of your surroundings, seek shelter, build an emergency kit and make sure to have some type of communication device for those around you.

Please take some time to familiarize yourself and your family members with actions you will need to take if these natural disasters happen. With most of these natural disasters you can see you will probably lose your electricity and/or water supply. This can become a huge problem for everyone in the summer months. 

Remember, almost all of these natural disasters happen with little or no warning, so make sure you are prepared!

For more information or to track what you have accomplished during the PrepareAthon, please visit, or for more information on preparedness, contact the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management Office at 702-652-1639.