A disaster can occur at any time, in many different forms. We may have a flood, a tornado, drought, community wide illness. Now, when things are going well, is the time to prepare for when they are not. Just as you buy home and health insurance, you should prepare yourself, your family, and your community for a disaster. There are several things you can do toward this goal:
Develop a plan:
Where will you go if your home is flooded or hit by a tornado? What will you do if your family is separated? Who will need to be contacted to know you are OK, or in need of help? Do you have the basics that you will need to get by for a few days on your own?
Have a go-kit:
Set aside a bag that you can grab as you run out the door with back-up medications, a change of clothes, something to keep the kids entertained, extra batteries, a flashlight, or your insurance policy numbers.
Share your plans:
Let people know how to respond if they are with you, or where to find you. Does your babysitter know the best evacuation route for your home? Plan a contact outside of the area everyone can reach to get updates on your status.
Practice your plan:
Practicing your plan will help you and your family to remember it, as well as identify areas that may need improvement.
Be aware of approaching weather, pay attention to the warnings that are issued.
Remember your neighbor:
A community will recover better by relying on its members. Does your neighbor need help evacuating? Will your community need help cleaning up or rebuilding? Volunteer. Register at I-SERV to join Iowa’s list of volunteers willing to pitch in when needed.
Here are some resources you may find helpful:
Floods can develop slowly, over days or weeks, or within minutes without even a visible sign of rain. Keep yourself safe by being aware of flood watches and warnings, and be prepared to evacuate by moving to higher ground when directed to leave.
Be aware that flood water may become contaminated with animal or human waste, or with farm chemicals or fuel. Avoid exposing yourself to flood water, and do not drink it, or any water that may have been contaminated by flood water. Remember your well may have been contaminated by flood water, and should be tested before you drink from it. Floods are one of the most common hazards in the US, and each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. This is because people often underestimate the power and force of water. Six inches of moving water can cause a person to fall, and two feet of water can cause even a pick-up or SUV to float. When approaching an area that has been flooded, it is difficult to estimate the depth of the water, and the ground under the water may be unstable. The safest approach is to turn around and take another route.
For more information on how you can prepare for flooding, visit the following websites: