Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

April 5, 2011

Preparedness begins at home

By John Arnold, ADLM Emergency Management Coordinator
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and floods: these are just a few of the potential hazards that we face as residents of southern Iowa.

As we observe Severe Weather Awareness Week April 4-8, we should take a moment to consider ways to be better prepared. Local, state and federal resources can be mobilized to help you in a disaster, but first we must all be prepared as individual citizens.

One way to be prepared is to practice a severe weather response plan for your family, school, church or workplace during Iowa’s statewide tornado drill.

The state drill will be held on Wednesday, April 6 at 10:15 a.m.

This is an annual reminder that we should all update and practice our own family disaster response plans. Make sure your family and close relatives are aware of your plan, and pay close attention to official watches and warnings. When a tornado warning occurs, move to the lowest level of a sturdy building, like a basement or interior room on the first floor. Stay away from windows. Cover your head and keep in your shelter until the storm has passed. Practice this drill in your home so everyone knows what to do when a warning occurs.

There are many ways to receive severe weather warnings. Television and radio news both do a great job of alerting audiences to watches and warnings. When watches and warnings are issued, listen closely and check to make sure your family and loved ones are also aware of the potential for danger.

Another way to be prepared is to purchase a NOAA Weather Radio and make sure it is working properly at all times. You can buy these special radio receivers at many retail outlets including electronics, department and sporting goods stores. Information about NOAA Weather Radios can be found on the National Weather Service website: www.weather.gov.

It’s also important to keep a family emergency supply kit. If disaster strikes, there are some very basic items that your family will need. Store your emergency kit in a place known to everyone in the household. The kit should include water and non-perishable food (enough for each person for 3-5 days), a first aid kit, cash, a battery operated flashlight and radio along with extra batteries for each, extra clothing and shoes, personal hygiene items, can opener, prescription medications, pet supplies and copies of important documents such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, insurance policies and financial information.

These simple steps can save a lot of time and trouble when disaster strikes, and go far beyond being prepared for just severe weather hazards. Other types of disasters, however unlikely, certainly could occur here in southern Iowa.

About ADLM Emergency Management Agency

If you live in Appanoose, Davis, Lucas or Monroe County, your local emergency management agency is based in Moravia at the ADLM Building. Our agency has the responsibility to develop and maintain each of the four county’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans and to work with local government agencies and private organizations to coordinate emergency management efforts.

ADLM Emergency Management Coordinators John Arnold and Dien Judge work closely with each county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee to continually update plans with an all-hazards approach. For more information about disaster preparedness, feel free to contact ADLM Emergency Management Agency by calling (641) 724-3223 or via e-mail at adlmema@iowatelecom.net.