With recent flooding taking place in Fargo, along with snowstorms in the Midwest and Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in the South the need for planning in advance of a disaster should be very apparent. This planning is not only important for individuals and families within their homes but also for schools and places of business.
Business owners need to give thought to what would happen if their building was destroyed or in a danger zone where they could not get to it to conduct business. What plans do they have in place to preserve vital records? What plans are in place to allow customers and clients to contact them during a disaster? These are just some of the questions businesses need to think about and plan for.
Individuals and families need to prepare as well. Having a NOAA All-hazards Radio is a big part of the preparation process. Having a plan that addresses where to meet if disaster strikes, who to contact if family members become separated from each other, and escape routes from your home in events such as a fire is extremely important. These are not the only issues to consider but they are part of the process in being prepared for disaster. The thought of such events as floods, tornadoes, or hazardous materials spills is not a pleasant one but having plans in place in advance of the event will make coping with such events more successful.
As part of the preparedness and planning process you should become familiar with your neighborhood. Know who your neighbors are and be aware of any special needs they may have which you may be able to provide help with in an emergency. Designate a relative or friend in another area as a point of contact in case your family becomes separated in a disaster. This will give everyone in the family a place to check in and receive information about the whereabouts of other family members and hopefully provide some peace of mind in what would be a very stressful time. Assemble a disaster supplies kit for your home and vehicle. This kit should contain such items as drinking water, non perishable food, flashlights and batteries. Other things to include would be blankets, matches, and a portable radio. Important papers and records should be stored in a secure and safe place to protect them. More information is available on what should be included in these kits by visiting www.ready.gov .
It is the responsibility of all of us to be prepared for disasters and plan ahead. This is true for individuals and families as much as it is for business and industry. A few steps taken in preparing can make a huge difference if disaster strikes. Have a plan and practice the plan to achieve successful results.