Emergency manager gives tips for families during disasters

St. Joseph Emergency Manager Bill Lamar said one key to safety planning is having contingencies if people are at work or school.

With several large wildfires on one coast and multiple states working to recover from Hurricane Ida on the other, there are plenty of reminders to be prepared for natural disasters right now.

In the Midwest, these disasters typically look like tornadoes, floods or extreme thunderstorms.

While we catch a bit of a break during the fall months, it’s a good time to prepare for the next possible disaster. September is National Preparedness Month, when emergency responders encourage people to be prepared for disasters at any time.

St. Joseph Emergency Manager Bill Lamar said some of the first steps in planning can be to create a kit.

“What’s it going to take for you to be on your own for 72 hours? Everybody needs to know their basics. You’re going to need food and water and shelter. And by that, I mean good clothing or blankets no matter what the weather is,” Lamar said. “If you don’t have a lot of money, spend 10 bucks a month and get you some food, get you an extra tray of water. Get you some batteries, that type of thing.”

According to a national campaign on preparedness, the theme for 2021 is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”

One key to safety planning is having contingencies if people are at work or school. Lamar said emergency kits can be a slower work in progress as long as people are creating plans with their loved ones.

Lamar said even if you’re someone who has lived in the Midwest and feels prepared for usual storms, you can never be too prepared as damages from natural disasters increase.

“We’ve heard a lot about hurricanes, and people have had time to prepare. But here in the Midwest, we don’t have a lot of time in the days leading up (to a disaster). We need to be prepared weeks in advance because we never know when that tornado might hit or that torrential flooding might happen,” Lamar said. “So always try and have everything ready that you need all year long. And that’s tough to do, especially with our changing temperatures.”

Morgan Riddell can be reached at morgan.riddell@newspressnow.com

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