If a natural disaster struck or a terrorist plot was carried out today, how prepared are you? State officials want Iowans to ask themselves that question as part of Family Preparedness Week. David Miller, chief of Iowa’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, encourages everyone to develop a family disaster plan, which centers on communication.
Miller says “People work during the day. They’re separated. Disaster may effect them at home. The kids may be at school, so part of it is having a communications plan that says how do we communicate with each other, is there someplace we can work through, join together know what we’re planned for, know what the situation is? That’s a big part of it.” He says Iowa families should assemble a family disaster kit in their homes.
Miller says “So if you do become isolated in your home and the electricity is out and you need food supplies or a radio or candles, some way to generate heat, whether it’s blankets and those things, you prepare for those eventualities. We have severe weather in Iowa year-round and that potential is there.”
Many people who’ve spent a winter in Iowa already know the wisdom of having a survival kit on stand-by for the worst-case situation, but Miller says not everyone thinks ahead. Miller says “People, by and large, don’t prepare. They always think it’s going to come next week or next year or that it won’t effect them and the truth is, many of us get caught short.” He says Iowans not only need to prepare for taking care of their families during a disaster, but also their dogs, cats and other pets.
Miller says various pet supplies, medication and food should be stored, and family members need to determine how that animal will be cared for, if everyone else is isolated at work or school and the pet’s still at home. For more information, surf to “www.BeReadyIowa.org” and those who do will have a chance to win an emergency supply kit courtesy of the American Red Cross and a pet supply kit from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.