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Tornadoes, Fires, Floods: Are You Ready For A Disaster?

Posted On September 03, 2014

By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service

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Experts say advance preparation can help people better respond to and recover from the impacts of a disaster or other emergency. Preparedness Month is a good time to make or update those plans. Photo credit: Jane M. Sawyer/morguefile.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Tornadoes, fires, floods and other disasters can strike at almost any time, and during Preparedness Month, state leaders are reminding residents about the importance of being ready for an emergency. 

Households should gather supplies they would need in the event they find themselves without power, heat or clean running water, said John Erickson, senior public information officer for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. It’s also wise, he said, to have a family plan of action that includes how to contact one another.

“Whether that’s text-messaging, whether you are going to designate an out-of-state contact – because sometimes, long distance calls are easier to make, because local lines can be congested with 911 calls and other urgent phone calls,” he said.

Important items for an emergency kit,” Erickson said, include one gallon of drinking water per person per day, nonperishable foods that can last up to three days, flashlights, blankets and first-aid supplies.

Erickson sais schools, businesses and community organizations also are encouraged to have contingency plans, so everyone is aware of what to do and where to go in order to stay safe.

“They’re very important to help with situations where bad things happen,” he said, “and they’re going to help you react to those situations in the best way possible.”

When talking to children about disasters, Erickson said focusing on safety can help them to feel better about the situation.

“If they know how to get out of the house if there’s a fire, if they know where you’re going to meet, those things help them feel like they are helping the household, they are helping themselves,” he said. “They know what to do in those situations, and it gives them more confidence.”

Preparing ahead of time, Erickson said, can help people better respond to, recover from and lessen the physical, emotional and financial impacts of a disaster or other emergency.