September marks National Preparedness Month. This observance month created by FEMA in 2004 – in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - strives to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. Linn County wants to take this time to remind residents of the steps to take to prepare and develop plans to ensure their safety when disaster strikes. Those steps include making an emergency plan, building and emergency kit, and being aware of hazards in their area.
Making an Emergency Plan
It is important to make an emergency plan so you and your family know what do, where you will go, and how to get in touch with each other in the event of an emergency.
You plan should include:
- A family communication plan
- A family evacuation plan that includes a plan for the family pet(s)
- Considerations for any special needs for family members
Find a template for creating your emergency plan on the Ready Iowa website.
Building an Emergency Kit
It is important to pack a bag with all the items your family will need in the event of an emergency prior to the emergency occurring. Once it is complete, store it in a place known to all family members and check it periodically to ensure medications are up to date and food is not expired.
Items to include in your emergency kit:
- Water and non-perishable food for each person for 3-5 days
- First aid kit
- Battery-operated flashlight and radio, and extra batteries for each
- Extra clothing and bedding (including shoes)
- Personal hygiene items
- Specialty items such as prescription medications, baby formula, diapers, and pet supplies
- Plates, cups, utensils, and a can opener
- Copies of important documents such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, insurance policies, and financial information
Being Aware of Hazards
Knowing about the hazards that can affect your community and how to get information about them is an important part of preparedness planning. Hazards that typically affect the state of Iowa include tornadoes, floods, heat, severe thunderstorms, and winter weather. Visit the National Weather Service website to learn more about these hazards.
In addition to knowing about the disasters that could affect your community, it is also important to know how you can receive alerts regarding emergencies. Federal, state, and local agencies can send alerts to residents via wireless emergency alerts, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), and through the outdoor warning siren system. Residents can take proactive measures to receive alerts in additional ways by investing in a NOAA weather radio and signing up for Alert Iowa – the State of Iowa’s official emergency alert system.
For more information about National Preparedness Month and emergency planning, visit Ready.Iowa.gov.