September is National Preparedness Month, and since being declared in 2004, the month has been FEMA’s premier outreach for emergency preparedness and public information.
Katy Linnenbrink is the spokesperson for Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and said it’s a good month to review extreme weather plans.
Each year, floods, tornados, and fires leave countless Missourians homeless and facing extreme conditions. Preparing by gathering emergency supplies, clothing, and flashlights ahead of emergencies will help better weather the storm.
“Especially during times of calm and quiet weather like we’ve been having,” Linnenbrink said. “It’s a great time for people to review their emergency plans, make sure they have a plan in place, know how to protect themselves during any kind of severe weather emergency and review the items in their emergency kit or build one if they don’t have one already.”
Ready.gov is a federal website that provides handy information about disaster preparedness and has everything from information about receiving emergency alerts to gathering emergency supplies.
Fresh water, easily prepared and nutritious food, a battery-powered or hand-cranked weather radio, a flashlight, a first aid kit and charged cellphone batteries are often sorely missed items after disaster strikes, so gathering them beforehand in a centralized location could prove wise.
The website also offers resources to help people learn ways to avoid big killers like lightning strikes and drowning in floodwaters, avoid heatstroke and survive frigid weather.
“They have some really great resources,” Linnenbrink said. “SEMA has some resources on our website as well for different types of emergencies, flooding, tornadoes, heat, winter weather, all kinds of stuff, but Ready.gov is FEMA’s national initiative on preparedness, so they have great resources there as well.”
A new FEMA mobile app promises to help families create emergency communication plans and teaches how to prepare for common hazards. It will protect by providing real-time weather updates and relaying current evacuation plans. Ready.gov also has the tools people need to recover from disasters, including ways to find out if you’re eligible for FEMA assistance, your area’s Disaster Recovery Center locations, and get speedy answers to your most pressing questions.
“Being prepared is the best protection during an emergency,” Linnenbrink told the Democrat. “I really encourage everyone to take this time to learn about the risks and know how they will protect themselves and their families during and emergency.”
For more information on disaster preparedness, visit ready.gov or sema.dps.mo.gov.
Chris Howell can be reached at 660-530-0146.