This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Prepared to


“ W officer for


Survive By Laura Araujo


Blanket or sleeping bag


inging it is not a emergency plan: make a disaster plan with your kids,” reads a FEMA-sponsored billboard on the side of the Creek


Turnpike, headed west toward Tulsa, Okla. Though the light blue sign almost blends with the color of the sky on a clear day, its message calls the attention of Oklahomans who know the weather can turn deadly overnight. More and more, governmental agencies are urging families to make a disaster plan, to be prepared in the event of a natural or man-made emer- gency.


Plan Ahead! According to Keli Cain, public information


the Oklahoma Department of


Emergency Management, every family should have a disaster preparedness plan. The plan should include specifi cs of what each family member will do, whom they will contact, and where they will go in the case of various emergencies.


“It’s important to have a disaster plan because you don’t want to be trying to fi gure out what to do during or after a disaster. Families, indi- viduals and businesses should have a plan ready to put in place as soon as something happens,” Cain says. Different types of disasters common in


Oklahoma—tornadoes, flash floods, earth- quakes, wildfi res and ice storms—require vary- ing responses, Cain says. For example, during tornado season, family members need to iden- tify a safe room at home and at work, and make sure it’s easily accessible and stocked with a di- saster supply kit (see side photo). However, in the case of a major earthquake, recommended protocol is to drop to the ground, preferably under a table or another sturdy piece of furni- ture, cover the head and neck with a blanket, and hold on to the furniture to stay under it as it moves. Once these plans are in place, Cain recommends families run practice drills. When it comes to communications before a potential event, Cain encourages people to have multiple means of receiving warnings, which may include a NOAA weather radio, TV


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broadcasts, outdoor storm sirens, phone apps, text message weather alerts, and updates from the National Weather Service offi ces in Tulsa and Norman, Okla., and Amarillo, Texas, via social media. “As part of your plan, be sure to have a variety of warning systems you’re using. Don’t rely on just one type,” Cain says.


She also recommends that kids learn their parents’ phone numbers and the number of one out-of-state contact so they could reach them in an emergency. During and after an event, text messaging is the best way to communicate, and it helps keep phone lines clear for fi rst respond- ers, she says. The website www.ready.gov contains numer- ous resources that are helpful for making a di- saster plan, Cain says.


Motivated to Plan


David and Tamie Elliot, members of Rural Electric Cooperative, have become increasingly aware of the need for a formal preparedness plan for their family, including their four boys who range in age from 11 to 17. “We need to have an idea, if something were to happen, where would we go, what would we do,” Tamie Elliot says. “We’ve talked about making a plan, but we haven’t had a chance to sit down and fl esh it out.” David Eliot says the motivation for making a


disaster plan is everywhere. “The weather can change in the blink of an


eye like down at Moore. But it’s not only weath- er events. We live 90 miles from Oklahoma City where the biggest homeland terrorism event before 9/11 happened,” he says.


Since several of their relatives live in other parts of Oklahoma or out of state, part of the Elliots’ plan will be a way for the family to com- municate about an emergency situation. He says they will also have supplies on hand in case they are confined to their home for several days. Once fi nished, the Elliots will share their written plan with extended family and close friends. David Elliot says it’s natural to think, “this will never happen to me,” but he realizes his


Flashlight First aid kit


Batteries Whistle


Seasonal clothes


Sturdy shoes


Dust mask


3 days’ worth


non-perishable foods Can opener


Supplies for infants, medical needs, pets


3 gallons of water per person (minimum)


Other items to include in a disaster supply kit are moist towelettes, hygiene supplies, a means to prepare non-perishable foods, a helmet and a battery-powered NOAA weather radio. Photo by Laura Araujo


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