SCARBOROUGH — With September being National Preparedness Month, residents can take some time to educate themselves and plan for a potential disaster.

This year’s theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait — Make Your Plan Today,” Fire Chief Michael Thurlow said in a public Facebook post.

Every September, Scarborough makes sure to educate residents on the importance of personal and family preparedness, Thurlow said.

The most common type of disaster in Maine is flooding, he said. The second most common type is a storm, whether that’s an ice, tropical, or winter storm, which can also cause flooding.

Each week this month will also have a different theme, Thurlow said. Families can take time each week to focus on a different aspect of disaster preparedness.

“It’s just the importance of folks spending some time and thinking about their own families, and identifying how would you deal with a necessary evacuation,” he said. “Rather than go to a shelter, wouldn’t it make more sense to go to a family member’s house inland or in a different state, someplace more comfortable, and make those arrangements in advance? Know that you’ve got a communication plan so if you got evacuated, your family from away is going to know how to find you.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a resource, ready.gov, that people can use when creating a plan or an emergency kit, Thurlow said.

He said examples of important items to have on hand in an emergency are copies of important papers and insurance or having a little bit of cash.

“All those types of things people don’t necessarily think of on a day-to-day basis but are important if those types of things happen,” Thurlow said.

According to the Facebook post highlighting National Preparedness Month, each week of September will have a difference focus: making a plan, building a kit, preparing for disasters, and finally, teaching youth about preparedness. A list of weekly themes and information is available at ready.gov/september.

“The whole message of the month is that your government and your town, first responders, when a disaster hits, we’re all inundated with dealing with the disaster, so the whole mantra and what we try to do this public education campaign for each September is the importance of personal preparedness,” Thurlow said. “You should have 72 hours worth of food, water, and supplies, so you don’t call first responders during those first critical hours when we’re trying to get roads open so that ambulances can get to your home and all the things that go with a widespread regional disaster.”

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