State health officials are encouraging Iowans to prepare now for potential emergencies that might occur this fall and winter. Alex Carfrae is with the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Center for Disaster Operations and Response. “It’s not uncommon to see extended power outages due to ice storms, we see a lot of the seasonal flu and last year we saw the H1N1 flu,” Carfrae said. “So, it’s just really good for all Iowans to be prepared.”

Winter storms and other disasters can strike with little warning or turn out much worse than anticipated. The situation may prevent a trip to store for supplies. For that reason, Carfrae suggests preparing an emergency supply kit with three days of drinking water for each member of the household.

He says the kit should also include food, a basic first-aid kit, prescription and non-prescription medications, bedding, personal hygiene items, a flashlight, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries. Carfrae says families should also agree on a meeting place in case people are separated in an emergency.

“Sometimes cell phones or land line phones aren’t going to work in an emergency or extended power outage,” Carfrae said. “So, talk with your family about how you’re going to be reunited after something like that.” More information about building an emergency kit and plan are available online at www.protectiowahealth.org.  September is National Preparedness Month.