As one of the most active years for disasters in recent history comes to a close and Americans get ready to ring in the new year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is encouraging all Americans to Resolve to be Ready in the new year, by taking simple steps to prepare for emergencies.

A recent report by the National Climatic Data Center points out that 2011 has seen more billion-dollar natural disasters than any year on record. This year alone, the U.S. experienced its first hurricane landfall since 2008, the most deadly series of tornadoes since the 1950s, significant earthquakes and severe flooding hazards that impacted every region of the country. All of these events have served as important reminders that disasters can strike anytime, anywhere, and being prepared is one of the most effective things we can do to protect our homes, businesses and loved ones.

FEMA's Region III's administrator MaryAnn Tierney is urging everyone to make a New Year's resolution to be prepared through three simple steps: get an emergency supply kit, make an emergency plan, and be informed of the hazards in your area.

"One of the most important lessons we can take away from this year's devastating storms such as Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee is that disasters can impact all of us, no matter what part of the country we live in," said Tierney. "They can range from flooding and earthquakes to tornadoes. While we can't control where or when they might hit, we can take steps in advance to prepare for them everyone's proactive preparedness efforts can go a long way toward protecting and empowering families, businesses, homes and entire communities to become their own emergency managers. Resolving to be Ready in 2012 could be the most important pledge you make this year."

Americans across the country have already proven that making emergency preparations in advance can pay off.

By making a resolution to take a few preparedness steps in advance, you can minimize the impact of an emergency on you, your family, or your businesses.

To take the pledge, visit www.ready.gov/pledge.

For more information on how to get prepared, visit www.Ready.gov or www.Listo.gov. This website includes free information, checklists, and guidelines about how to put together a kit, make a plan, and stay informed.

Resolve to be Ready in 2012 is a nationwide effort to increase awareness and encourage individuals, families, businesses, and communities to take action and prepare for emergencies in the New Year. This effort is led by FEMA's Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council.

For more information, visit Ready.gov and CitizenCorps.gov.