Missouri weather is unpredictable! If you need a reminder, just think about the Sunday after Thanksgiving. There were blizzard warnings in the western and central parts of the state and tornado warnings around our area. Talk about extremes!
That day serves as an important reminder that we need to be prepared for natural and man-made emergencies year-round. And the holidays are the perfect time – when family is all together – to update or make an emergency preparedness plan.
The St. Charles County Division of Emergency Management recommends all-hazards planning to cover any type of emergency. Here are three steps to help you prepare:
- Develop your family’s written plan: Start by listing household members and their specific needs. Create an emergency contact list. Discuss and document what each person will do during an evacuation and shelter-in-place situations at home, work and school. Don’t forget to account for pets—they are family, too!
- Create a kit: Make an emergency kit based on your plan and family’s needs. Be sure it includes at least a three-day supply of food and water, personal hygiene/medication, a first aid kit, cash, flashlights, batteries, tools and food for any pets.
- Prepare sources of information: Don’t plan to rely on one TV, radio station or smartphone app for information. In an emergency, it’s vital to have a variety of sources in case one becomes damaged or out of service. The Division of Emergency Management recommends that every home have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for emergency alerts. St. Charles County has a new emergency notification system, SCCMO AlertMe, where you can sign up to receive mass push notifications on your smartphone or email from the National Weather Service and other governmental agencies.
Revisit your plan and kit regularly to make adjustments and change out expired food and other items. More lists, tips and items to consider are available on the Division of Emergency Management’s website for each of these steps. For questions, contact the department at 636-949-3023 or by email.
From my family to yours, have safe and happy holidays and a fantastic New Year!