(KLIX) – September is National Preparedness Month, and South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) is urging area residents to take action now to help prevent disease outbreaks in the home and community.

One of the things people can do is prepare emergency kits and have emergency plans, the health district said in a news release on Tuesday.

“You can help prevent a disease outbreak in your community by making sure you and your family are up to date on your immunizations and by practicing healthy hand hygiene,” SCPHD epidemiologist Tanis Maxwell said in the statement. “If we face a large-scale disaster we might not have access to clean water, dry shelter and other things we take for granted. Preparations, like immunizations, will go a long way in protecting your family.”

An emergency kit – often known as a 72-hour kit – should include such things as extra medication, water cleaning tablets, epi pens and hand sanitizer, among other items, according to the health district. It also said that people should think outside the box when preparing their kits, such as if someone in the family uses electrical medical equipment to make sure to have backup plan to handle a sudden loss of power.

Preparation might take some time, but the work that goes into it is worth it in the event of an emergency that might make it difficult to access immediate medical assistance or in the event that you have to be away from home for a period of time. Remember, your emergency kit should be transportable.

“Remember, in an emergency you might not have time to pack anything extra,” said Nelson Long, SCPHD training and exercise coordinator. “Your emergency kit should have everything your family needs to stay healthy until you can go back to your home.”