Are you and your family prepared for an emergency? September is National Preparedness Month, which is apparently the government's way of telling us to take a few minutes this month to make sure that supplies and plans are in place in case disaster strikes. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) website, the three steps you need to cover are:

  1. Get a kit.
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Get informed.
Here's what you need to do to get prepared:

Get a kit

Chances are, you already have everything you might need during an emergency ... you just don't have it all in one place. But in the midst of an emergency is no time to go searching for the bandages or find out that the flashlight is out of batteries. So take a minute now to put all of these items together and then up and out of reach of little hands. Here are some supplies to keep in your kit:

  • 3 days supply of dried, canned, or packaged foods
  • 3 days supply of water
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight and radio (skip the batteries and try a hand crank models)
  • Trash bags
  • Duct tape
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Simple tools (to turn off utilities or appliances)
  • Can opener
  • Emergency blankets
  • Local maps

Check out the website for more ideas on items to place in your emergency kit.

Make a plan

Talk with your kids about what your family will do in the event of an emergency. You don't have to make it scary, just keep it simple and let kids know where you should meet up and/or get in touch with each other in the event of an emergency. FEMA also recommends identifying one out-of-town contact (it's often easier to make a long-distance call during an emergency than it is to call across town) who everyone can get in touch with if you are separated. And find out now what emergency plans are in place at your office and your children's schools. That way you won't be surprised if something does happen.

Be informed

According to FEMA, it's a good idea for everyone to learn more about the potential emergencies that could happen where you live and the appropriate way to respond to them. Again, this will minize the element of surprise and help you respond more quickly in the event of an emergency. Check out the website for more info.

Photo: SurvivalKits

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