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Prepare now for sometimes contrary spring weather

WINDSOR HEIGHTS – No one wants to think about a disaster, but floods and tornadoes are two of Iowa’s most common hazards. 

Heavy rains, flooding, tornadoes, ice storms, blizzards and heavy snow – hazardous storms have caused most of Iowa’s 27 Presidential Disaster Declarations since 2000. 

“Being prepared is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from severe weather,” says Adam Broughton with DNR’s field services’ emergency response. “March 27 to 31 is Severe Weather Awareness Week – a good opportunity to check your supply kit and review your communications plan.” 

Broughton suggests putting together a supply kit with food and water for three days—enough time for emergency responders to reach you in extreme situations. Other essentials include batteries and solar-powered or hand-cranked chargers, a light source, medicine and prescription lists, doctors’ numbers, insurance cards and pet supplies. It’s good to have supply kits for home, work and on the road. 

Having a communication plan ensures friends and family stay in touch. Take time to review it together, discussing where to meet during an emergency and who to notify. Update emergency contacts, including listing someone out-of-town as a central contact. In an emergency, use texts and short calls to avoid tying up phone lines needed by emergency responders. 

Get organized by storing important documents in the Cloud or on a secure flash drive. Include insurance, identification and banking information. Place important print documents in a fire and waterproof safe. 

“Find more tips on the DNR’s disaster web page,” Broughton says. “Both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Iowa’s Department of Homeland Security have great checklists for communication plans and supply kits.”