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‘Be prepared’ not just a motto for Boy Scouts

posted Aug 30, 2008, 9:35 AM by Boy Scout Troop 856   [ updated Aug 30, 2008, 9:36 AM by Boy Scout Troop 856 ]
Tornadoes, floods, ice storms and blizzards are all whether disasters that have hit Kansas in the past couple of years.

September is National Preparedness Month, a time specifically designated for everyone to make sure they are prepared when disaster strikes.

How people get through these natural disasters often depends on how well they prepare. Some preparations should be done well in advance while others can be done when the weather event is threatening.

An emergency plan and an emergency kit are good places to start. The emergency kit should contain a battery powered radio and an extra batter, enough water to last for three days, prescription medicines, toiletry items, diapers, formula, bottles and baby food for babies and non-perishable foot items, said Mark McManaman, administrator of Emergency and Medical Services for Pratt County.

Every family needs to develop an emergency plan and take time to practice that plan. In the case of a tornado, have a designated place to go and a prearranged way to communicate, McManaman said.

The same is true for fire. Have an exit plan and a place to meet already in place then practice the plan.

Also prepare a disaster plan for work and share that plan with the family so they will know where everyone is if disaster strikes.

The Small Business Administration encourages families to have adequate insurance coverage including flood insurance. The SBA also recommends making copies of important documents and keeping computer records up to date.

If tornadoes threaten listen to the radio or TV. Take shelter in the lowest part of the house with the most walls between the people and the storm. Take shelter underneath a stairwell or get under a table.

If a house doesn’t have a basement, some people make arrangements to go to a neighbor’s house with a basement.

Lightning kills many people every year. If thunder can be heard lightning can strike. Go indoors or get in a car and do not stand under trees or next to tall structures, McManaman said.

In flood conditions, listen to local and area news and be prepared to evacuate. Make sure the emergency kit is ready. Also have important documents in an easily accessible place.

When driving in flood conditions never drive through running water.

“Remember the motto, ‘Turn around, don’t drown,’” McManaman said.

If a blizzard threatens, make sure all food supplies and the emergency kit are prepared. If stranded in a vehicle in a blizzard, stay with the vehicle, do not get out and try to walk, McManaman said. 
Have non-perishable food like nuts, candy bars, hard candies or energy bars in the car. Also have a candle and something to light the candle and something in which to put the candle. Candles provide heat, light and can melt snow for water.

If possible run the car every 30 minutes and make sure the exhaust is clear. 

Disaster preparedness information is available at the Cannonball Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross in Pratt.

The office has numerous pamphlets, has disaster-training programs and offers a range of disaster kits including kits for elderly, youngsters and for those with disabilities, said Donna Meyer Pfeifer, chapter executive director.

The chapter will offer disaster classes during September and October. The classes are open to the public and there is no cost.

The classes will focus on preparation, making disaster plans and kits and what to do after a disaster.