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Make a disaster plan for National Preparedness Month

Media contact: Allison Sandve, U of M Extension, ajsandve@umn.edu, (612) 626-4077; or Catherine Dehdashti, (612) 625-0237, ced@umn.edu


ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/9/2013) —September marks the 10th annual National Preparedness Month. This annual event, led by FEMA, encourages individuals to take appropriate steps towards emergency preparedness for all hazards.

While all hazards are important to prepare for, weather related disasters are particularly impactful in this region. Whether it is a tornado or flood, families should have a plan for what to do in the event of a natural disaster. These preparations should take into account all family members and property, as well as give clear directions for different disaster situations.

Be proactive
When a disaster occurs, we instinctively react. In order to prepare for a disaster, take proactive measures. A few proactive practices to do in preparation for a natural disaster are:

  • Review your insurance coverage
  • Inventory your household property
  • Start an emergency fund

Talk with your family
Making a disaster plan is a great opportunity to talk to the whole family about disasters. It's important to talk to your children, no matter what the age. Even small children need to have information, helping them to know what to expect. Remember, avoiding the topic will not prevent the disaster from happening. Families need to talk about disasters, their plan for responding and how to be better prepared if a disaster is expected.

Pack a "grab and go" bag
Have a packed bag ready to "grab and go" should an emergency arise. This bag should be easy to carry and contain basic materials including, a flashlight, food and water for three days, a cell phone charger, warm clothing and a battery operated radio. Remember to include copies of important documents.

Consider your property

Don't forget about your property when making disaster preparations. All property owners have their own ideas of a disastrous event for their area. Identify what types of situations provide the most threat and what repercussions they would have for your pets, livestock, buildings, appliances, machinery, etc. By identifying these situations and planning for them, negative effects can be minimized.

Practice your plan
The key to making your disaster plan effective is to practice it. Practice will allow you to maximize safety in the event of a disaster.

When weather disasters are predicted in Minnesota, visit www.extension.umn.edu/extreme-weather for preparation and recovery information.

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