Kansas is home to a wide variety of weather, and it is sometimes hard to know what to expect. Tornadoes, thunderstorms, blizzards, and floods are common threats along with extreme heat, cold, and wind. Other emergencies your family may confront could relate to vehicle trouble, medical concerns, fires, and accidents. An emergency or disaster can strike at any moment and will likely affect every family at some point. The best way to work through difficult situations and circumstances is to be prepared before a concern presents itself.
Prepare Kansas is an online challenge coordinated by K-State Research and Extension. The free challenge takes place annually throughout the month of September, coinciding with September’s designation as National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
A little work now can make recovering from a disaster less difficult. The Prepare Kansas challenge is broken down into a few activities to do every week, which makes the tasks easier than if you are trying to complete them from a long list. The program is designed to help individuals, families and businesses become better prepared ahead of disasters, in order to make recovery easier.
Registration for the upcoming Prepare Kansas challenge will take place in August. You can register at the Prepare Kansas Blog. Contact your local Extension Office for more details.
KSReady.gov: State of Kansas portal to information and resources on emergency planning and preparedness for the public, businesses, schools, children, elected officials and first responders. Resources on the website include: volunteer management, long term community recovery, rapid damage assessment, chemical risks, and more.
Ready.gov: Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed. This online resource by FEMA will help you and yours be informed about your risk to various hazards, make a plan, and build a kit. Adult and kid-focused activities are available.
Emergency Preparedness and Response: Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help you prepare and respond to medical emergencies, natural disasters, chemical emergencies, and more.
911.gov : In an emergency, call 911 from any wired or wireless phone. Be prepared to answer the call-taker’s questions, which may include: the location of the emergency, including the street address; the phone number you are calling from; the nature of the emergency; and details about the emergency. The website is not a location to seek emergency assistance.
Emergency Alerts : You can receive important lifesaving alerts no matter where you are - at home, at school, or at work. Learn about the alert strategies (radio, tv, phone, etc.) nation-wide and in your region.
Make a Plan
Family Communication Plan: Does your family know how to get in touch with each other if you are not together? Have you identified an out-of-state point of contact? Do you know where to meet away from your home? This guide by FEMA will help your family articulate a plan.
Family Disaster Plan: A comprehensive family disaster plan includes information about each family member, household pets, insurance and finances, the home itself and its contents. This guide by the University of Missouri Extension will assist families through the development process.
Prepare a Kit
An emergency or disaster may strike when you are in your home, at work or school, or even on the road commuting between activities. It is important to have a basic emergency/disaster supplies kit prepared in advance of an emergency so you don’t have to search for things when you need them. It is recommended to have enough supplies prepared to survive at least 72 hours. Be sure to consider the needs of each person in your family. Visit the resources listed under “Be Informed” to access lists of suggested emergency kit items.
Anatomy of a First Aid Kit: A well-stocked first aid kit is a handy thing to have. The Red Cross provides insight on what to include.
Get Financially Prepared–Take Steps Ahead of Disaster : Do you know how to keep your finances in order after an emergency? This K-State Research and Extension fact sheet provides information about financial considerations before, during, and after an emergency or disaster. Topics include: household inventory, checking your insurance coverage, and preparing a grab-and-go box.
Our Valuable Records: Receipts, documentation, proofs of ownership, and pieces of identification may be needed to collect insurance or retirement benefits; to receive military compensations; and to solve tax or estate settlement problems. This K-State Research and Extension publication is a tool to help identify your family’s valuable records.
Your Disaster Checklist : This guide by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can assist you in collecting, copying, and storing your financial information. Store in a safe, secure place so that your financial information is ready to grab-and-go in an emergency situation.
Personal Home Inventory: Use this guide to record the contents of your home and their value. An accurate record of this information will allow you to make a more accurate insurance claim. To access more insurance related resources visit www.ksinsurance.org.
Before and After the Storm–Insurance Tips for Preparation and Recovery:This brochure by the Kansas Insurance Department will help you understand your storm coverage. Appropriate insurance coverage is your best protection against an emergency or disaster. More resources are online at www.ksinsurance.org.
Decisions after a Death–Practical Suggestions Regarding Financial and Legal Matters: It is difficult to make decisions or even know where to start after the death of someone close to you. This K-State Research and Extension publication provides practical guidance as you face some of the legal and financial issues that may need dealt with.