Ready for a disaster? If not, consider starting ‘Do 1 Thing’ during National Preparedness Month

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By Lindy Thackston

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- September is National Preparedness Month, the time when Hoosiers are encouraged to think about being ready in case of an emergency like a flood, tornado, earthquake or even a bad winter storm.

It can be overwhelming to think about putting a bag together in case of a disaster. Many people don't know where to start so they never start at all. A campaign called "Do 1 Thing" is designed to encourage people to get ready in a slow, deliberate way by getting what you can, when you can.

"Being ready a little bit is better than not being ready at all," said John Erickson, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

You can sign up here for monthly reminders to put another item in your bag.

Some of the items you ultimately want filling your bag are a weather radio, water, a crank or rechargeable flashlight, food and a charger for your phone.

Erickson says when people in a community are prepared, emergency responders can help more people and when people are prepared themselves, they can help their neighbors.

If you put anything in your bag that needs batteries, remember to check the batteries every so often. Erickson says a good rule of thumb is to check your disaster bag when you check your smoke alarms at the time change. And don't forget about your pets.

Erickson suggests using a bright colored bag so it's easy to spot, or put reflective tape on a dark bag. That way if you've lost power and are using a flashlight to find the bag, it's easier to find.

It's also a good idea to make copies of important documents and stock enough essential medication to last three days.

If possible, keep extra cash in your preparedness kit because if a widespread power outage occurs, ATM and credit card machines may be down.