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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 38 Presidential Disaster Declarations since 1990.
“Taking some simple precautions before the flood and tornado season starts is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones,” says Adam Broughton, DNR’s disaster response coordinator. “March 20 to 26 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 three days of food and water, enough to provide for you until emergency responders can reach you. Other essentials include batteries, a solar-powered or hand-cranked charger for batteries and cell phones, a light source, medicine, doctors’ numbers, prescription lists, insurance cards and supplies for pets. It’s good to have supply kits for home, work and on the road.
Your communication plan ensures friends and family stay in touch. Review where to meet during an emergency and who to notify. Update emergency contacts on cell phones, including listing someone out-of-town as a central contact. If there is 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, www.iowadnr.gov/disaster,” Broughton says. “Both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Iowa’s Department of Homeland Security have great checklists for communication plans and supply kits, too.”