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Disaster Preparedness

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June 18, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about disaster preparedness. Hello, I'm Amy Myers, and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Anne Hilbun-Benoit, Mississippi State University Extension Instructor. And we should always be prepared for natural and man-made disasters. Everyone knows about the importance of stocking up on essentials like first aid kits, flashlights, batteries, and, of course, nonperishable food items and water.

So, what are important items that we don't think about?

Anne Hilbun: First and foremost, the biggest one is our medical prescriptions. We need to be able to take care of ourselves and we've got to be healthy in order to do that. Another thing would be a weather or AM/FM radio. This is very key in getting those weather notifications that you will need to help guide you.

Some other ones include items like toys or coloring books for kids, games. You always want to include extra clothes for everyone for at least two to three days. Eyeglasses, these are important. Having a spare. You've got to be able to see to be effective.

You also want to keep some road maps handy. Your cellular device may not work after a disaster. You may not have the location data available to you.

Amy Myers: And updated road maps.

Anne Hilbun: Yes.

Amy Myers: And the meals ready to eat are really great. You can get big buckets of them at either Walmart or sports stores, or order them off Amazon or something.

When we store these items, can we put them in the attic or the shed or the garage?

Anne Hilbun: Actually, you want to keep these items in an air conditioned or controlled environment. It really is important.

Amy Myers: Okay. So, don't put them in the attic or shed or garage. Okay.

Anne Hilbun: No.

Amy Myers: Now, what are other important items to have?

Anne Hilbun: Well, you definitely want to have your vehicle fueled and extra fuel for your generator, if you have one. Also, your pet supplies, diapers, women's hygiene products, water purification, straws, bottles, tablets, a battery operated fan, perhaps, or even hot hands for during the winter to help keep yourself warm. Don't forget the electrolyte replenishing drinks, as well.

Amy Myers: Okay. And it's very obvious that if we do not prepare ourselves by stocking up on survival items, we're putting ourselves and loved ones in danger. What are some really big mistakes that we make in the event of a disaster? And, how can we avoid them?

Anne Hilbun: There are so many mistakes. Obviously, we get a lot of warnings and sometimes we don't give the weather its due and really pay attention. So you definitely want to pay attention to those alerts and you want to have multiple ways of getting those alerts.

Also, make sure that if you do have a generator, you're getting it serviced regularly so that it actually works when you need it. That's a big one, as well.

Perhaps the biggest is to report damage to your local emergency management agency at the county level. If there are trees down or power lines down across a roadway, they need to know that. As well as if there's any structural damage to your home or any other property.

Amy Myers: The tree thing, making sure that trees get removed from the road is important because if emergency management vehicles need to get through, they cannot do that if there's a tree it the road.

Anne Hilbun: Yes.

Amy Myers: And if there's a tornado, be sure to get in an empty tub or in the hallway without any windows, in a room without windows. And, if you can, put a mattress over yourself. And, of course, stay away from power lines, especially if they're fallen.

Anne Hilbun: It's probably safe to say just treat every electrical line like it is hot and it is live and it can get you.

Amy Myers: There are very easily accessible resources we can use to make disaster preparation simple and easy. What are these resources?

Anne Hilbun: Check out the resources available on They have a variety of checklists that can help you get prepared so that you're prepared for just about any threat that you or your family may face. Also, check Extension's website. We have a variety of publications that can help guide you through the process, both before and after a disaster.

Another resource is the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's website. It's

Amy Myers: That's and Extension's website is, and then, MEMA's is...

Anne Hilbun:

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Ann Hilbun, Extension Instructor. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a product of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Ext Ctr for Government & Comm Devel

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