Preparing before an emergency or disaster strikes is the kind of task that easy falls to the bottom of the priority list and stays there.
But, taking the time to get ready ahead of time reduces the chances you or your family is hurt.
“Oklahoma is well known for its tornadoes and severe storms. But, we experience other emergencies and disasters such as heat and drought, earthquakes, winter storms and wildfires,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist. “We have to be ready for anything.”
September is National Preparedness Month. Now is the perfect time to do some advance planning or review your family’s emergency plans.
The idea of trying to prepare for every potential disaster or emergency can be overwhelming, not to mention impossible. You can start by identifying the types of disasters or emergencies most likely to occur and signing up to receive local weather and emergency alerts on your phone or other devices.
Then, put together a basic emergency kit and create a family emergency plan.
A basic emergency kit should include supplies such as three days’ worth of water and nonperishable food, a first aid kit, flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, closed-toe shoes and a change of clothes appropriate for the current season.
Be sure to add prescription medicines, hearing aids, baby formula and other unique needs of family members. Also, do not forget to set aside items for pets.
“An emergency kit doesn’t have to be expensive. You can easily build one on a budget,” Peek said.
Begin by searching your house for the items you need. Broker trades with friends and other family members for supplies both of you need to complete your kits. Fill in any remaining gaps with things you pick up on sale or at garage sales.
Your family may not be together when an emergency or disaster happens. That is one reason a family emergency plan is so important.
“A family emergency plan helps keep your family safe by making sure everyone knows exactly what to do and where to go if something occurs,” Peek said. “You should update and practice the plan at least once a year so the details stay fresh in everyone’s mind.”
A free step-by-step guide on building an effective family emergency plan is available at www.ready.gov, along with other important resources such as a seasonal preparedness calendar and full list of recommended supplies for a disaster kit.
For more information about emergency preparedness, visit the Emergency Preparedness resource centers at www.dasnr.okstate.edu/news and contact the nearest county OSU Cooperative Extension office at countyext2.okstate.edu/.
Story by Leilana McKindra