Disaster Preparation and Safety

We are happy to have Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Family Finance Specialist and guest blogger Barb Wollan to share information related to safety and preparation during times of disaster.
September is Disaster Preparedness Month. Recent news about hurricane damage provides a sobering reminder of the importance of being prepared. Here in the Midwest, hurricanes are not part of our reality, but we are at risk for other types of disasters, many of which strike suddenly with little or no warning.

In a disaster, safety is first priority. We need to be prepared to quickly evacuate from a fire or seek shelter in a tornado, for example, and have a way to stay warm if a winter storm causes an extended power outage. Having the right fire safety solutions and equipment in place can make all the difference when seconds count. Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and emergency exit plans are essential components of a comprehensive safety strategy that can save lives and property.

Equally important is ensuring that specific environments, like kitchens, are equipped with specialized fire safety measures. For instance, restaurant fire suppression systems are crucial in preventing kitchen fires from spreading and causing extensive damage. These systems are designed to quickly detect and suppress flames, protecting both the establishment and its occupants. Whether you are safeguarding a home or a business, investing in reliable fire safety solutions is a proactive step towards ensuring everyone’s well-being during a disaster.

One crucial aspect of disaster preparation often overlooked is the proactive management of the surrounding environment. Regular tree maintenance, including prudent removal when they become too unwieldy, plays a pivotal role in enhancing safety. The risk of falling branches or uprooted trees during a storm can be mitigated through such measures. Partnering with a local tree service ensures that potential hazards are identified and addressed promptly, contributing to a safer living environment. By engaging with local tree services like Land Clearing & Brush Control in Larkspur & Sedalia, CO, property owners can proactively identify and address potential hazards before they escalate into emergencies. Through this collaborative approach, communities can bolster their resilience and readiness to confront and overcome unforeseen challenges. By integrating such practices into our disaster preparedness routines, we fortify our ability to weather unforeseen challenges with resilience and readiness.

As for the residents in the Buncombe County area, investing in proactive tree management becomes even more crucial given the region’s susceptibility to severe weather patterns. With the threat of hurricanes, strong winds, and heavy rainfall, ensuring the integrity of trees on residential and commercial properties is paramount. Local Tree Removal Services in Buncombe County, NC, offer tailored solutions to address potential risks posed by overgrown or diseased trees. By enlisting the expertise of professionals who understand the unique environmental factors at play, property owners can safeguard their assets and mitigate the likelihood of damage during adverse weather events.

There is a second aspect of preparedness that also deserves our attention: we need to be prepared for recovery and preparing for recovery includes:
1. Having insurance coverage that meets our needs, and reviewing it every couple of years to make sure it is keeping up with changes in our situation;
2. Creating and updating a household inventory (typically via photos or video) to assist in filing insurance claims;
3. Keeping irreplaceable documents (birth certificates, military records, property titles, and more) in a safe deposit box;
4. Having copies of key documents and information stored away from our home – perhaps with a friend or family member in another community, or in secure cloud storage. This includes insurance policies (or at least policy numbers and contact information), financial account information, most recent tax return, along with key medical information (including vaccination records) and contact information for both professional and personal contacts. Pet vaccination records matter too.

The list above is NOT all-inclusive, but it’s a good starting point. Check out this “Your Disaster Checklist,” from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


In addition, check out our resources related to managing stress.

All About Stress

Helping Children Manage Stress

Barb Dunn Swanson

With two earned degrees from Iowa State University, Barb is a Human Sciences Specialist utilizing her experience working alongside communities to develop strong youth and families! With humor and compassion, she enjoys teaching, listening and learning to learn!

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What is this thing called resilience?

Once people understand what ACEs are they ask “what now?” What’s next is the idea of resiliency. Resiliency allows us to be able to move past the negative consequences of adverse childhood experiences. Resiliency allows us to have hope in the future. Our desire to create resiliency leads us to search for ways to support and help families and communities.

Three powerful ways to create support are tapping into individual capabilities, attachment and belonging with caring competent people and a protective community, faith or cultural process. We know that individuals can lead successful thriving lives despite their ACE score. These three protective factors above are why they can overcome the damage from their ACEs and lead healthy happy lives.

Explore your communities for positive supportive protective systems. What do the protective symptoms look like in your community? Are there places to grow support  your systems?

Share with us your ideas.

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Lori Korthals, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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