LHITS Prep-Along: Step #1 Be Informed

by Ivory Soap

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According to FEMA, at their emergency preparedness website, the very first step is to Be Informed.

For this step in our Prep-Along, you will need a binder, tabs, and patience with tedious websites as we explore the following three questions:

  1. What hazards are most likely?
  2. How will I get alerts and warnings?
  3. Does my municipality have emergency plans (shelters, evacuation routes)?


Question #1  What hazards are most likely?

Depending on your geographic area, you are more or less likely to experience certain natural disasters. The difficulty is determining which ones apply to you. If you are lucky like me, your county has a preparedness website that tells you all of the disasters common to our region.  If you don’t have access to a site tailored to your area, you have a few choices:

  • Pop through the pages FEMA wrote for kids and check each in the “Am I at Risk?” remarks under the cartoon kid at the bottom left.
  • Read ALL of the descriptions for each disaster here (and not all of them even tell you, BTW)
  • I hear tell that you can find out through the Red Cross site, but I can’t figure out how.

redcross shot

Once you have established your list, you need to print out the “what to do before, during, and after details” for your notebook.  You have several options:

Once you have all the sheets ready, put them in your notebook….and read over them.


Question #2  How Will I Get Alerts and Warnings?

You have several ways to be alerted to disaster warnings if you don’t have the TV on when it happens.  Your next assignment is to browse the following links and shop around for the warning apps or alerts that fit your family best.

Go ahead and set up the ones you like.  You don’t need to buy a radio yet, though.  That’s a later week.



Question #3  Does my municipality have emergency plans (shelter, evacuation)?

Actually, FEMA has a pile of questions you are supposed to ask about community plans.  I don’t see anything on our town website or the county one, so I’m going to call up the Fire Department tomorrow and see if they know where I can get that information.  I know back in the day there were designated fall-out shelters, but it’s been a while since the 1960’s.

If you can find out this information, write it on the applicable pages for each disaster in your notebook.

Share what you found!

Come back here and post something in the comments that you didn’t know before.  On Friday, our usual linky will be shots of everyone’s progress.  Some blogs know how to let people (without blogs) put in their own photos at the end of the post.  Anyone know how to do that?

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cinnamon Vogue January 22, 2014 at 10:43 am

What a timely post. After having gone through the blackout during the North East Power Black Out in 2003, where we had no power for like 3-4 days, I can tell you the first thing is to have enough fuel in your car and maybe a spare drum of fuel at home. Best to keep your car fuelled at all times.

A safe with plenty of cash is the second most important thing. Of course canned food and water is also essential. That goes without saying. A portable gas stove to cook food would also be good. I have a wind up power charger which has a torch, radio and ports to charge a cell phone. And send text messages during disaster because they get delivered at some stage unlike phones messages which get a busy signal.

Shelle @ PreparednessMama January 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I love those Red Cross Apps. I’m in earthquake(ish) country and it sends me a notification if there is one within 100 miles of my house. Plus I love that you can post an “I’m OK” message on your Facebook page. We practiced doing that as a family.

Angelica January 22, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Still working on this! Hopefully I’ll finish by tomorrow. I seriously think someone might like to let FEMA know about this, so they can see the difficulty normal people have putting everything together if they were to follow FEMA’s guidelines. So far it’s been a bit daunting but I’m game!

Claire January 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Good tips! I’ve done research on this before, but this article had some things I had not thought of.

I have also found that other sources are your local utility company websites. My county emergency site pointed me there. My power company has a web page dedicated to power outages and my gas company has information regarding gas leaks, pilot lights, etc. While you are at your utility company websites, take a second to note their outage hotlines and save those into your phone.

Claire January 23, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Hmmm… my county does not have shelter information listed on their website either. I know I hear about it on TV when storms do hit. I wonder if these shelter locations are so apt to change that they don’t want to post permanent information online and would rather do it when a threat is imminent?

lisa mawson January 23, 2014 at 11:18 pm

just downloaded the sd emergency app. i have found that although all our gear is in one easily accessed area, we still have no food or water ready and really need a first aid kit where everything else it. i know my pantry is full of canned goods, but i dont think that will help me in the long run. the only thing i find difficult is the upfront cost up things on such a tight budget. i mean no one wants to say hey, my safety is only worth x amount, but we are living month to month, i am going to really have to be creative to get this stuff together.

Connie January 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

Thanks again for setting up this prep-along. Living in Houston and having two very recent experiences with hurricanes (Rita which only affected my area by causing traffic jams) and Ike (pretty much a direct hit) I thought I was pretty well informed/self-educated, but have already learned a lot–didn’t know about texting FEMA to find a shelter, nor did I know about all of the alert mechanisms and apps available. I have not finished going through all of the apps/alerts yet, but will set those up once I decide which ones I want. Still reading through all of the information I printed–hurricanes, tornados, floods, winter storms (we are iced in here today), chemical, drought. I did not print all scenarios on the site (e.g., thunderstorms, heat, biological, wildfire etc.) but did choose to include drought. While a drought is not a emergency like a hurricane, I thought the water conservation tips applicable, not just every day, but especially during emergencies so wanted them included in the binder.

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