September is National Preparedness Month, which is a reminder to us all that we must be prepared now and throughout the year for national disasters. Walmart’s Emergency Operations Center operates 24 hours a day to track storms, wildfires and other natural disasters to support our associates and communities around the world. We’re constantly reacting to and preparing for emergencies that come our way.
In times of disaster, there are many things Walmart can offer: logistics capabilities, technology, product sourcing, physical locations, associates and scale. These days, we’ve expanded our focus beyond providing relief to also helping local communities prepare for the hurricanes, wildfires or floods that may affect them. We collaborate with many non-profit and government agencies to engage customers and associates, helping to educate them on smart ways to prepare for potential emergencies. For instance, have an action plan for yourself and loved ones in the event that you encounter an emergency situation. Prepare a kit with emergency supplies. And most importantly, listen to your local law enforcement. If the police tell you it’s time to evacuate, follow those instructions. It could be the step that saves your life.
This year, we’re encouraging people to have a ready list of recommended materials at hand to pack in emergency “go bags,” such as local maps, backup cell phone batteries and more (source Ready.gov). A “go bag” is an emergency supply kit in case of evacuation. Most items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Also consider any unique needs your family might have such as prescriptions, as well as supplies for pets or seniors.
In 2016, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation pledged $25 million in cash and in-kind donations to support disaster relief and preparedness through 2022. Recognizing the unprecedented impact of disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and 2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave well beyond the initial pledge, providing more than $38 million in 2017 alone. In addition, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have donated more than $60 million since 2005 in cash and in-kind donations in response to disaster events.
We’re proud to continue the support of local communities where our customers and associates live and work. To learn more about Walmart’s disaster relief work, visit our Global Responsibility Report.