State officials plan to start a public awareness campaign Monday to encourage Iowans to be better prepared for a potential emergency. Fritz Nordengren trains professionals who respond to emergencies at the Mercy School of Emergency Medical Services in Des Moines — but he says you don’t have to go to his school to be prepared. He says every Iowan can prepare at home. He says his family has a communications plan so they know how they will communicate and what they will say in case of an emergency. He says the plan came out of the floods of 1993 when the water supply to Des Moines was knocked out by flooding. Nordengren says his then five-year-old son prompted his family to come up with a plan. He says his son was fascinated by the coverage of the flood down the street, but he became more worried about what would happen if the flood reached their own home. He says that prompted them to come up with a plan to know what they would say to the kids and each other if there were an emergency. Nordengren says living in the midwest may be quiet a lot of the time, but you still have to be prepared. He says you have to realize that there are storms, floods and other things that can lead to a health care emergency. Nordengren says you need to realize that today is the best day to get started on an emergency plan. The Iowa Department of Public Health will have a free planning booklet available Monday to help families prepare for emergencies.
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