Experts remind everyone to have up-to-date plans for disasters during National Preparedness Month

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It is National Preparedness Month and experts are advising everyone to make a plan if disaster strikes.

Experts say emergency situations can range from severe weather to house fires.

Sam Simmons with the Eau Claire County Emergency Management Program says it is important to prepare for such an event, just in case it actually happens.

“We never know when disaster will occur. You know, it could be in the middle of the night. You could have advance notice or little to no notice,” said Simmons.

Mary Jane Thomsen with the Western Wisconsin American Red Cross chapter says they have helped out many people caught in a disaster.

“We’ve been able to help over 160 individuals here in our 17 county northwest Wisconsin chapter. Up to ten of those have been here from August 31st to today.”

And she says fires are an emergence that is more common than people think.

“Preparing for those home fires is what we’re talking about in September,” said Thomsen.

She says house fires make up 90% of disasters they respond to.

Experts say having an emergency kit is a good place to start when planning for disasters.

“That’s just one less thing you have to deal with when you’re facing this,” said Simmons.

And what goes into making an emergency kit?

“Supplies that individuals and families should have in their emergency preparedness kits include water, nonperishable food items, flashlights, batteries, cell phone chargers, different things that you have around the house everyday. Make sure they’re in one place,” said Thomsen.

Simmons adds having a meet up spot for after the disaster is key.

“So if an emergency happens at 5:00 and kids are at practice, parents are just getting off of work, nobody’s home. You know, how like, how are the families can communicate? Do you have a spot where you’ll meet up if you need to meet up somewhere?” said Simmons.

And if you do have to deal with a disaster.

“Document everything, document. You know what the damages document before and after for insurance purposes, for recovery purposes, you shouldn’t expect agencies like FEMA to immediately step in, because that is a very long and complicated process,” said Simmons.

For more information on how to prepare for a disaster and set up an emergency kit, head over the American Red Cross website.