SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

September is National Preparedness Month, a nationwide effort aimed at encouraging Americans to be prepared for emergencies.

During this time, citizens are encouraged to prepare themselves for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools and communities. Preparation may include creating an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan or getting involved in community preparedness.

The goal is to increase public awareness of the importance of preparing for emergencies including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. It is also to encourage citizens to take action to protect themselves and their families.

More information can be found at the National Preparedness Month website or the Department of Homeland Security website. More information about fire and emergency safety also is available from the Central Fire District.

The Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) is hosting an emergency preparedness fair at the Del Monte Center on Saturday, Sept. 20. More information about that event is here.