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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. 

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.

Consider Your Needs. Remember that additional planning may be required for senior citizens, family members who are disabled or require special medications or medical treatments, and pets.

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Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

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