Are you ready?

National disasters can happy anywhere, anytime, and to anyone! Recent hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes and wild fires shown on the news, remind us that no one is immune to a national disaster. September is marked as National Preparedness month, and we want your family to have a few basic tools to help you be better prepared.

Get “Ready” and be ready! Ready.gov is an excellent source of information for disaster preparedness. Download the FEMA app today to learn a variety of ways that you can prepare for a variety of disasters such as: active shooter, bioterrorism, cyber security, extreme heat, landslides, pandemics, tornadoes and more.

Disasters don’t plan ahead. But, you can! Discuss with your family, these four questions:

• How do we want to receive weather and emergency alerts? Determine if using wireless emergency alerts, the emergency alert system or weather radio works best for your family.

• What is our shelter plan? Find the closest mass shelter nearest you or create a plan to stay with friends or family.

• What is our evacuation plan? Identify several places you could go in an. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency. Also, create a re-unification plan in the event you should get separated.

• What is our family communication plan? Establish one or two people as a central source of communication. Determine an effective method of communication through text messaging, social media or your central communicator. You can also use the Family Emergency Communication Plan available at the FEMA website. Pick a date where you and your family can practice your plan.

Be alert! Besides the FEMA App, the Weather Channel and American Red Cross App are among the top-rated apps for families and emergency notifications. Make sure your mobile device can receive Wireless Emergency Alerts and sign up for local agency list serves such as school, work, places of worship and organizations you want to hear from in an emergency. A WATCH means that the potential exists for the development of severe thunderstorms or tornadoes, depending upon the specific type of watch issued and means that conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes in thunderstorms. A WARNING, on the other hand, requires more immediate action and should be taken seriously. A severe thunderstorm warning indicates that severe weather is imminent in your area or is already occurring.

Protect your valuables! Make sure you have your financial and medical records with important contact information will helpful after disaster strikes. Also, think about what personal items you may have of significant value that you want to protect. This can include birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, health insurance information, home loan and insurance information, driver’s license, social security numbers, financial accounts, medical information and more. Be sure to document your belongings through pictures or video an insure for the appropriate amount for relevant disasters.

Download a FREE Emergency Kit Checklist for both adults and kids at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34326. These great tools offer a checklist of items that can be stored or packed in advance when preparing for a disaster. There is even one for pets too!

Natural disasters of varying types can and will happen. If we teach our children how to be prepared and involve them in the process, we can eliminate fear and panic, and create security when it is needed most. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by recent disasters.

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Carrie Kube is a director for Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board. All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the board and/or its community partners.