Clinton, Miss. -- With the tornadoes and flooding of April and May still fresh in peoples’ minds, now is a good time for you and your family to prepare for the next disaster, whatever that may be.
If you have children, include them in the planning process. Experience has shown that when children are involved in the planning process, it calms their fears.
"Making these plans ahead of time will ensure that everybody is ready when disaster strikes," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack. "We know that these are stressful times, but preparedness can ease some of that stress."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's web site, "Ready Kids," is designed for children. It has fun quizzes and games. At the same time, it helps families prepare for a disaster. Go to www.ready.gov/kids.
One of the most important first steps is to have children help stock an Emergency Supply Kit. They can help decide what should go in the kit and why, and help choose how it will be stored and where. The Ready Kids web site explains the kit's contents and provides materials in a format kids will enjoy while they are learning.
Another important step is to make a family emergency plan. A good plan would include a list of possible emergencies, evacuation routes, phone numbers of friends, relatives and local emergency management offices. Such a plan should be designed to help the family be self-sustaining for at least three days.
Finally, families should be informed. Learn together about the types of emergencies that can happen in your area and how to respond to them can be.
And don&'t forget your pets! Prepare an animal emergency supply kit, develop a pet care buddy system in case you can't take care of your animals yourself, and if you must evacuate, take your pets with you if at all possible.
"We encourage everyone to ensure that their family is ready in the event of another disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer Terry L. Quarles. "While creating a family preparedness plan involves a little time, it can be a fun and easy family activity that can actually save lives."
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.