Devastating hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes - we never know what could be coming our way. National Preparedness Month is every September, and we are reminded that we all must prepare ourselves and our families now in case disaster strikes.

Take time to learn lifesaving skills − such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flood, earthquakes, and tornadoes. Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency. Also, know how to take practical safety steps like shutting off water and gas, and how to prepare a "go bag."

Often, we will be the first ones in our communities to take action after a disaster strikes and before first responders arrive, so it is important to prepare in advance to help yourself and your community.

I talk with Rosie Taravella, CEO of the American Red Cross, New Jersey Region. She explains the steps we should take to prepare ourselves for the next emergency. Find out more at

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