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3 Ways to Practice 'National Preparedness Month' All Year

September was National Preparedness Month, and is a great reminder that being prepared for emergency situations or dangerous circumstances is incredibly important. After all, flash floods are the No. 1 cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms each year, hail causes more than $1 billion in crop and property damage, tornadoes lead to roughly 60-65 fatalities and lightning is the cause of 55-60 deaths annually, the National Weather Service reports. So taking the sentiment of National Preparedness Month, why not ensure that you and your family is safe all year round? Here are a few ways to get you prepared.

Pack an emergency kit

Packing a comprehensive emergency kit could be the crucial element that keeps you and your family safe in emergency situations. The kit should consist of three main things: food, water and important documents. Try to ensure that you have enough food for each person to last three days. It's better if you pick something with a long shelf life that doesn't require cooking and is easily stored like canned food, nuts and dried fruit.

Water is something you can almost never have enough of, therefore, be generous with the amount that you pack. Around 1 gallon per person should be enough, as you never know what outdoor situations you'll have to endure that will quench your thirst.

Important documents are sometimes forgotten during the rush and anxiety of emergencies, so setting aside insurance details and appropriate identification is handy. You never know what recovery procedures you may have to go through and what information you will need.

No matter what is in your emergency kit, try and pack it in plastic containers rather than in storage materials that can break or decompose.

Pick a meeting place and talk through a plan

You and your family may be split up during an emergency, therefore figuring out where to meet and how to communicate is very important. Try and pick two meeting places: one near the house in case of a situation at home and one outside the neighborhood. Meeting places should be sheltered, strong and easily found. In the case of an outdoor emergency, ensure your family is equipped with the necessary outdoor gear and is aware of safe practices they can use when they head to the meeting place.

Furthermore, talk with your loved ones about how you will communicate. Discuss whether you will speak over social media, text message or back plans in case none of these work. A great thing to note is to keep an ear out for the radio in emergencies so that all family members can meet at the closest emergency shelter.

Prepare your home

tornado over the house (3d rendering) tornado over the house (3d rendering)

In outdoor emergencies, preparing your home to minimize risk can make a big difference. Try moving outdoor furniture to higher ground levels in case of a flood and see if it can be secured in case of a hurricane. Other things to consider at home are having enough materials in case of a power outage, having an emergency access to your home and securing any entrances such as doors and windows.

National Preparedness Month serves as a great message of promoting planning to keep safe in emergency situations. Celebrate this great month all year long by following some of these steps to stay well prepared.

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