Oklahoma is no stranger to natural disasters and other emergency situations. Residents have seen it all - tornadoes, wildfires, ice storms and flooding.
What should Oklahomans do to prepare for what Mother Nature has to offer? Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Extension housing and consumer specialist, has some advice.
“We see a variety of natural disasters in our state. We face everything from tornadoes to wildfires to ice storms here in Oklahoma, and sometimes we don’t have a lot of advanced warning of these emergency situations,” Peek said. “It’s so important to plan ahead.”
Peek said families should start by receiving emergency alerts and warnings. Families also need to consider places in which they can take shelter, as well as evacuation routes.
It is important to create a plan for how family members will communicate with each other during the emergency.
“As you’re planning, be sure to consider any specific needs of family members. For instance, think about the ages of everyone in the household, dietary needs, any language and cultural or religious considerations, as well as medical concerns and disabilities,” Peek said. “Once you have gathered the pertinent information, sit down and draft a family emergency plan for the various scenarios you may face.”
The family emergency plan should incorporate a range of details such as the contact information for each person in the household, the agreed upon emergency meeting locations and other important phone numbers. She said everyone in the family should receive a copy of the plan and the family should set aside time to practice implementing it.
“Knowing what to do and where to go in a disaster will help calm any nerves and reduces your chances of being hurt or injured in an emergency,” Peek said.
For more information on preparing ahead for a disaster, including guides for developing a family communications and emergency plans, please visit The Department of Homeland Security’s website and contact the nearest county OSU Extension office.