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Planning for disaster during National Preparedness Month

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — September is National Preparedness Month. As families continue to clean up the devastating mess left behind from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, first responders want to make sure you’re prepared for a natural disaster.

According to FEMA, you and your family should be prepared for a variety of disasters including weather events like flooding, landslides, wildfires, tornadoes, extreme heat, and extreme cold. There are other disasters, too, that could be devastating if you aren’t prepared. Those include bio terrorism, pandemic, cyber security, and long-term power outages.

At Akard True Value Hardware store in Zionsville, manager Joe Hollingsworth said often times, people come in after a disaster, rather than planning ahead. He said people should think of preparing for a disaster as if they would for a camping trip.

“Basic camping supplies. Usually when you go camping, you don’t have a whole lot with you, so you bring camping supplies with you and it’s the same type of thing. You kind of go into survival mode,” Hollingsworth said.

FEMA has a checklist of supplies they recommend for you to put in your family’s emergency supply kit. Some of those supplies include flashlights with extra batteries, matches, a power pack to charge your phone, a dust mask and gloves, a tool bag to turn off utilities, and a bucket with a lid to keep items from getting wet.

FEMA recommends following 4 steps to plan ahead and prepare well in advance for a disaster.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household.

  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Locations frequented
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
  • Languages spoken
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals
  • Households with school-aged children

Step 3: Fill out a family emergency plan

Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.

Step 4: Practice the plan with your family/household

Emergency officials also recommend making extra plans if you have elderly loved ones or pets in your home.

For resources you can use to make checklists with your family, click here.