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Prepare to Expect the Unexpected

Posted by Judy Rude, National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Conservation
Feb 21, 2017

It’s hurricane season again.  It’s hard to believe that it was just 10 years ago when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and a large portion of the Gulf Coast with floods, power outages, food and water shortages, as well as many other after effects.

September is National Preparedness Month, which is a great opportunity for you, organizations, and communities to prepare for specific hazards through drills, group discussions, and exercises.  The focus this year is making sure that you and your community are prepared for six specific hazards: earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire and winter storm.

To help you, USDA recommends the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) as your one-stop shop for information on how to prepare for and respond to disasters.  It is a collaborative multistate effort by extension services across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters.  EDEN is hosted by the Louisiana State University Ag Center and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). 

Preparedness goes beyond the home, so you also need to consider what to do if disaster strikes while you, a loved one or friend is at work.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that workers put together emergency plans and a “grab-and-go” bag in case they are required to “hunker down” or stay in offices/buildings/schools/businesses for up to three days. FEMA recommends that these bags include clothing, flashlights, toiletries, battery radio, canned food, and whatever else one might needed during an emergency.  Do you have a “grab-and-go” bag?

If you already have a grab-and-go bag, great!  Is it up-to-date?  Are the batteries still good?  Are you brave enough to eat the food you packed without checking first to see if it’s past the expiration date? Because most disasters cannot be predicted; you must remain vigilant with routine preparations for any possible situation.

The following list might help you get started as you prepare your plan and “grab-and-go” kit:

  • Be Informed – Learn what protective measures to take, before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Make a Plan – Prepare, plan, and stay informed for emergencies.
  • Build a Kit – Build a kit for disasters to be prepared.
  • Get Involved – Find opportunities to support community preparedness.
  • Protect Your Business – Plan for and protect your business.
  • Kids – Fun and games for kids. Great tools for educators and parents.

Are you prepared for the unexpected? 

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges.

Category/Topic: Conservation

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Margie Gower
Sep 16, 2015

I am stationed on the Central Coast of California and a year ago became a member of C.E.R.T. where I became skilled in the preparedness for disasters and acquired the ability to help others until uniformed responders can assist. I have a 'grab-n-go' backpack for my two cars, my office, and my home, including custom cut plastic to place over vents should I need to hunker down in place and prevent chemical/harmful gases from getting in. I change out the water pouches I have every month and check the food supply inventory list for expiration dates on a monthly basis. Being so close to the San Andreas Fault line, one should be ready all the time.