Recent flooding, wildfires and earthquakes provide good reminders of the importance of being prepared for natural disasters and other emergencies. According to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, there have been 10 billion-dollar weather disasters so far in 2011, including flooding from Hurricane Irene; drought, heat waves and wildfires in the Southern Plains and Southwest; and Mississippi River flooding in the spring and summer. Flooding from Tropical Storm Lee will likely be the 11th billion-dollar disaster this year.
Viewer Tip: September is National Preparedness Month. Are you prepared? Make sure you have the supplies and information you need to stay safe if a natural disaster or other emergency occurs in your area.
• Get a Kit. Keep an emergency supply kit at home that will cover the basics of survival: food, fresh water, clean air and warmth. Find a list of suggested emergency supply kit items at www.ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html.
• Have a Plan. All family members should know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in different emergency situations. Find out if workplaces, daycares and schools have emergency plans. Get tips for making an emergency plan at www.ready.gov/america/makeaplan/index.html.
• Consider Your Needs. Remember that additional planning may be required for older individuals, family members who are disabled or require special medications or medical treatments, and pets.
o Tips for older individuals: www.ready.gov/america/getakit/seniors.html
o Tips for people with disabilities or special needs: www.ready.gov/america/getakit/disabled.html
o Tips for pet owners: www.ready.gov/america/getakit/pets.html
• Know Your Stuff. Find out what kinds of natural and man-made disasters may occur in your area. Know how you will be notified of an emergency in your community, TV or radio broadcasts, sirens, telephone calls, etc., and learn about emergency plans established by your state or local government. Links for community and state preparedness information can be found at www.ready.gov/america/local/index.html.
Remember to visit Earth Gauge for more tips!
(Sources: NOAA NCDC. “Billion Dollar U.S. Weather/Climate Disasters.” http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/reports/billionz.html#chron’ National Preparedness Month 2011. http://community.fema.gov/connect.ti/READYNPM)