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Plan now before a disaster strikes

Monday, September 11, 2017

What will you and your family do when a disaster strikes?

It is a good idea to know the answer to that question since Oklahomans can face everything from violent tornadoes to debilitating ice storms to raging wildfires.

“We face everything from tornadoes to wildfires to ice storms here in Oklahoma. There isn’t always a lot of advanced warning in these emergency situations and you and your family may not be together when something happens. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

If you have not done any advance planning, now is the perfect time to begin as September is National Preparedness Month.

Start by considering how you and other family members will receive emergency alerts and warnings, where you will take shelter when necessary and what evacuation route you will take.

Then, 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,” said Peek.

Once you have gathered the pertinent information, sit down and draft a family emergency plan.

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.

Everyone in the family should receive 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 of 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, visit and contact the nearest county Extension office.

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