PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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Cathleen D. Bennett

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Office of Communications
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New Jersey Marks National Preparedness Month this September

Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.

As Texas and Louisiana recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, the New Jersey Department of Health reminds everyone to be prepared for the next emergency by taking steps during National Preparedness Month to protect themselves and their families ahead of time.

“The catastrophic loss of life and property that Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding has left behind remind us that disasters can strike at any moment,” Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said. “A little preparation goes a long way when faced with a public health crisis of this magnitude.”

The 2017 national theme is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”

New Jersey stands ready to assist Harvey victims in need by offering resources and raising awareness of how to help. Assistant Health Commissioner Christopher Rinn, at the request of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the Texas Department of State Health Services, has been deployed to Austin, Texas to support Harvey relief efforts by documenting challenges in developing response strategies and planning for interim recovery operations. 

The New Jersey Hospital Association has also deployed many doctors and nurses to volunteer.

Learn more about how to get involved in the emergency recovery effort.

To mark preparedness month, the Department is participating in a Radiation Risk Communication Workshop on Sept. 7 sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The EMS task force is also participating in a Newark Liberty International Airport full scale exercise on Sept. 9. The Department is taking part in an upcoming exercise at Oyster Creek at the end of the month. 

To prepare for emergencies, it is important to:

Prepare a go-kit. Every family should have an emergency kit prepared with items to last up to a week. Kit basics include fresh water, nonperishable food and backup supplies such as flashlights and batteries. If you do need to evacuate, be sure to pack a supply of medication that will last a week. To prepare and maintain a kit, check out the Department’s Emergency Supply Checklist in English and Spanish.

Create an emergency plan. Make plans with your family and neighbors in case you're not together during an emergency. Discuss how you'll contact each other, where you'll meet and what you'll do in different situations. Check out Ready Together, the Department’s public health guide to emergency planning.

Stay informed. During an emergency, your local Emergency Management or Emergency Services office can give you information on open shelters and evacuation orders. Bookmark www.nj.gov/health and follow the Department on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

Get involved. Consider joining your local Medical Reserve Corps, which coordinates activities through volunteers to make communities safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to public health emergencies.

Join in celebrating preparedness month with the Department on social media by posting photos demonstrating how you prepare for an emergency using #NJPrepares. Weekly national themes include:

  • Week 1 (Sept. 1-9) Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends
  • Week 2 (Sept. 10-16) Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community
  • Week 3 (Sept. 17-23) Practice and Build Out Your Plans
  • Week 4 (Sept. 24-30) Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger

Several county and local health departments also have preparedness activities planned.

Atlantic County
Information table that includes emergency preparedness, “Register Ready” enrollment, and flu and handwashing materials local schools’ Back-to-School nights.

Information tables outside local businesses where people buy materials for their emergency supply kits such as Home Depot, Loews and Walmart, with a focus on Medical Reserve Corps recruitment and emergency preparedness information.

Emergency preparedness presentations at Senior Centers including “Register Ready” enrollment and the importance of go-kits with medications. Medication boxes will also be distributed.

Sept. 1: RPM Development Senior Housing (20 W. Milan Ave. in Pleasantville) from 10:30 to noon.          

Sept. 8: Egg Harbor Township Senior Center (5045 English Creek Ave. in Egg Harbor Township) from 10-11 a.m.

Sept. 11: Brigantine Beach Community Center (265 42nd Street South in Brigantine) from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

Sept 12: Ventnor Senior Center (6500 Atlantic Ave. in Ventnor) from 11:40 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sept 14: Herman Pogachefsky Center (1102 Atlantic Ave. in Atlantic City) from 11 a.m. to noon.

Sept 18: Hammonton Senior Center (310 Bellevue Ave. in Hammonton) from 11 a.m. to noon.

Sept. 20: Dr MLK Community Center (661 Jackson Rd. in Newtonville) from 11 a.m. to noon.

Sept. 24: Green Day Festival (Hammonton Lake Park, 100 Sports Dr.) from 12-4 p.m.

Sept. 26: Leinweber Senior Center (235 Dolphin Ave. in Northfield) from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Cumberland County
Sept. 27: The county health department will participate in a preparedness fair hosted by the Fairfield Township Office of Emergency Management at Fairfield Township School (375 Gouldtown-Woodruff Rd. in Bridgeton) from 6 to 8 p.m.   

Burlington County
The county is hosting an emergency preparedness photo contest. Each week, residents are asked to post preparedness photos to the county’s health department Facebook page using #BurlCoPrepares. The prize is an emergency go-bag filled with supplies.

Camden County
Sept. 9: Mental Health Awareness Walk at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be an information table on managing mental health and coping during a crisis.

Sept. 16: Virtua Camden Community Day at Virtua-Camden campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with an emergency preparedness information table.

Sept. 23: County Fair at County Fairgrounds in Blackwood from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with an emergency preparedness information table.

Sept. 24: An emergency preparedness information table will be set up at the County Fair at County Fairgrounds in Blackwood from noon to 5 p.m.

Sept. 30: Walk the Talk, Genesis Counseling Center at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken from 8 a.m. to noon featuring information on substance abuse, mental health, first aid and emergency preparedness.

Cape May County
Weekly preparedness tips will be shared on the county’s website and on the Cape May County Facebook page. Preparedness flyers and Cape May County Emergency Preparedness Guide brochures will also be posted in ShopRites, Wawas, Acmes, laundromats and local businesses. 

Sept. 28: The county health department will distribute emergency preparedness materials to residents at Cape May County Senior Day held at Cape May County Park and Zoo.

Mercer County 
Sept. 9: Fall Health Fair in Trenton at Children’s Home Society from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ocean County
An emergency preparedness display will be showcased throughout the month at the main branch of the Ocean County Library in Toms River.

Sept. 13: Emergency Preparedness/Awareness Day at County Connection, Ocean County Mall

  • Promotion of their Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program
  • Display (literature, go-bag items)

Passaic County
Preparedness tips will be shared on the county’s website and social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sept. 26: At “Tuesdays In the Plaza” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the county health department will have emergency preparedness materials for seniors that will include a “Get Ready and Go” bag demonstration, disaster checklist, brochures, fall prevention information and hearing aid and eye health resources. This is located at 77 Hamilton Plaza in Paterson.


Join the Paterson Medical Reserve Corps and receive a free exercise kit (while supplies lasts). You must be 18 years or older. To submit an application, visit the New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps website and join the Paterson unit.

Somerset County
Throughout the month, the county’s health department Twitter page will feature preparedness tweets.

Sept. 1-29: The county health department will have an emergency preparedness educational table on display at the Somerset County Administration Building (20 Grove St., Somerville) for employees and residents.

Sept. 16: The county health department will have a display about public health emergency preparedness at the 2017 Somerset County DisABILITY Services Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Thomas J. Kavanaugh VFW Hall (600 Washington Ave., Manville).

Sussex County
Sept. 9: Emergency Preparedness Educational table at the Sparta Farmer’s Market in Sparta Township from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sept. 14: Sussex Warren Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) presents “Nuclear Disaster Response Gotham Shield: Lessons Learned” from 10 a.m. to noon at Tranquility Church, 5 Kennedy Rd, Andover Twp. Located at the intersection of Kennedy Road and Route 517.

Sept. 22: Sussex County Department of Health and Human Services will sponsor a Healthy Living for Seniors and the Emergency Preparedness program.

Union County 

The county will be sharing social media preparedness messages.

The Paterson Division of Health, located at 176 Broadway in Paterson, will be disseminating emergency preparedness gift bags to children (while supplies lasts). Each bag contains a coloring book, crayons and more. Drop by or call (973) 321-1277 ext. 2412.

For more information, visit the Department’s Emergency Preparedness and Operations

Last Reviewed: 9/1/2017