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Are you prepared for severe weather?

tornado photo

Severe weather season is upon us. Now is a great time to prepare for Kansas’ severe weather season, says Carolyn Koehn, director of Safety and Emergency Management for Ascension Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita.

“It’s critically important to prepare emergency plans, and to know what to do — at work and at home — before severe weather strikes,” says Koehn.

Is your family prepared should severe weather develop?

Consider the following for your emergency plan:

  • Where is the nearest shelter? Don’t wait until severe weather is threatening to identify your shelter. An underground shelter is best, but an interior room without windows on the lowest level is an option as well.  In fact, this type of room may be safer than traveling a long distance to find an underground shelter.  Anyone residing in a manufactured home should identify an off-site shelter; consider neighbors, relatives, churches or other nearby locations.
  • Stay tuned to local media outlets when severe weather is predicted. Don’t wait until you hear the sirens.
  • Coordinate with other family members. If you are apart when severe weather strikes, have a plan to reconnect after the storm has passed.

Sedgwick County, Kansas, Emergency Management also suggests families make a family emergency supply kit including:

Important Documents: Birth certificates, Social Security cards, list of current medications, insurance card, etc.

Current Medications: Keep your medications in one location so you can grab them with your document folder as you head to shelter.

Water: Store water in plastic containers. You will need one gallon of water per person, per day. (2 quarts for drinking, and 2 quarts for food preparation and sanitation.) Keep at least a 3-day supply, and change your supply every 90 days.

Food: Store at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food. You'll want items that require no refrigeration, little preparation and little or no water. Good things to include are

  • Canned goods (meats, vegetables and fruits)
  • Canned juices, milk and soup
  • High-energy foods like peanut butter, jelly, granola bars, trail mix, and crackers
  • Comfort foods like cookies, hard candy, cereal, instant coffee and tea bags
  • Pet food

Clothing & Bedding: Plan for one complete change of clothing and footwear for each person in your household. Others include:

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear

Tools & Supplies: Keeping tools and other supplies together will come in handy during an emergency. These items should be included:

  • Battery operated television or radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Cellular phone
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Utility knife
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Pliers and a shut-off wrench for utilities
  • Tape, paper and pencil
  • Paper or plastic eating utensils
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Needle and thread
  • Toilet paper
  • Soap and liquid detergent
  • Personal hygiene items

First Aid Kit: In case of minor injuries, a good first aid kit should include:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages
  • 2" sterile gauze pads (4 to 6)
  • 4" sterile gauze pads (4 to 6)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2" sterile roller bandages (3)
  • 3" sterile roller bandages (4)
  • Scissors, tweezers, needles and safety pins
  • Moist towelettes
  • Antiseptic spray
  • Thermometer
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Sunscreen
  • Latex gloves (2 pair)

Via Christi is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

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