Getting ready...

What a busy summer we've begun, and it promises to get even crazier.  Last week, I attended a class in Jefferson City, Missouri, to learn to better run an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during a local disaster.  This week, I'm building a radio campaign to help promote and educate about basic emergency preparedness.  (You'll hear more about that later.)  I love talking to people about readiness because it's important and it's easy to do.

What is your readiness level?  How many of these boxes can you check?
  • Family emergency plan is written and practiced for a variety of hazards.
  • Family communications plan is written and understood.
  • Out-of-State emergency contact is known (memorized) by all.
  • Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and CO detectors are installed.  Fire plan and meeting place are practiced.
  • Evacuation (go-bags) are packed and easily accessible.
  • Home emergency kit contains 72 hours of food, flashlights and batteries, and other supplies.
  • Shelter in place kit contains plastic sheeting, duct tape, and a bucket.
  • Critical documents (legal documents, banking, insurance, and medical) have to-go copies assembled.
  • Other emergency kits are in place: car, commuter, work, school, etc.
  • A NOAA radio in your home, workplace, etc. is always on - someone is listening for alerts.
  • Likely evacuation routes and destinations (hotel, friends, family, etc.) identified.
  • Small business owners have a business disaster plan and expectations developed.
  • Key employees (management, medical, government, etc.) have a plan for your family in a disaster.
  • Alternative "utilities" identified for your home. (Heat, lights/power, cooking, etc.)
  • Necessary medical needs have back-up and stock-up for a week or more during an emergency. (Power, medication, supplies, treatments, etc.)
  • Safe room and wind mitigation prepared for high winds (straight line winds, tornado, hurricane, etc.).
  • Earthquake mitigation begun (attach shelves, support water heater, reduce overhead storage, etc.)
  • Get a little training, certification, and practice in your area of interest.  (First aid, search and rescue, Ham radio, alternative power, volunteer assistance, first response, home safety, public education, etc.)


  1. Hi. Thanks for a post such as this. I have a question. It might have been asked and answered elsewhere, but I didn't see it. With regards to a weather emergency, specifically a tornado siren -- what should you do if driving down the highway. Say you are driving through, you know it's stormy, but you also have to get home. Either way, there is not shelter. There is not a place to just stop - other than the side of the road. There are underpasses, but I hear mixed thoughts on this. Is there anything specific you should do - pull over...keep going and "outrun" it as long as you can, or until you can seek some sort of shelter?(Fairly certain I've heard that's a bad Would love your thoughts on this - as I recently went through this exactly. I can't tell you what the right answer is, but I am grateful that, in the midst of it all, I made it through okay. Just curious your answer. Thanks!

  2. Laura, Blogspot 'hid' your comment from me until now. I'm sorry for the delay in answering, but here goes. I pulled this right off the NOAA website. 'Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. [It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary than to cause a crash.] Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.'

    I hope that helps. The bottom line is - Get Out of Your Car! The car may act as a sail or parachute of sorts and it will leave you exposed to flying debris.