September is National Disaster Preparedness Month

Published on September 10. 2020
Barbara Boustead
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter

Did you know that September is National Disaster Preparedness Month?


Are you prepared for an emergency? You will not always see them coming, and it’s important to be ready.Tornadoes, flooding, even Iowa saw an inland hurricane last month. You can be mentally ready for hurricane season each year, but an inland hurricane was something no one was prepared for!


One of the best ways to be ready for a natural disaster is to prepare ahead of time, especially if you live in an area that is prone to them. Know your local stations, either radio or TV, and have a way to tune into them. That means having a battery-powered device, and the batteries to power it. Keep a supply of non-perishable food and bottled water.


Also, keep your important documents together in something that is waterproof. Birth certificates, social security cards, passports – have them all together and ready to go.


Have a first aid kit ready. Bandages, antibiotic creams, gauze, aspirin, ibuprofen, hand sanitizer, latex gloves, thermometers, blankets, bug spray, sunscreen – have it packed and stored in your emergency bag.


When you know a natural disaster is headed your way, charge up your phones as much as possible. Keep them on the chargers until it becomes dangerous to do so.


MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUR PETS. Make sure they are wearing collars with name tags or have them micro chipped. If the worst happens and you are separated from them, you want whoever finds them to be able to easily contact you so you can be reunited.


Financial scams  crop up around every disaster. Most of us want to help our fellow community members. But unfortunately, there are always (some) scammers out there to profit off your good nature. So, what can you do? How can you tell if something is a legitimate fundraising effort or a scam?


One of the best ways to avoid getting scammed out of your money is to donate directly to organizations you’ve researched and believe in. The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, UNICEF – all of those are valid places to donate your money. But go directly to the source. Do not randomly click on links that are emailed to you to donate. For example, If you receive an email from the American Red Cross, don’t click the link to donate. Leave your email and go directly to their site to make your donation.


When you donate, you will need to put in your credit card information.  But you should never have to give any other information. They do not need your social security number, bank account information, Medicare ID number, or any other financial information. If someone asks for it, assume it is a scam and exit the site or hang up immediately.


A reputable organization will also never ask you to donate via gift card, wire transfer, or mobile payment app. Again, if you see these requests, assume it is a scam.


You may not see a disaster coming, but with a little preparation when things are calm, you will be ready, and you and your family will be able to weather any storm.