Weathering the Storm: Disaster kits and Ready Rating - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Weathering the Storm: Disaster kits and Ready Rating

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Officials recommend having a disaster kit and plan in the case of an emergency, but have you thought of everything you might need?

A flash light and batteries, are things you probably always put in your disaster kit, but these days Red Cross workers like Jamie Koehler recommend families prepare to weather the storm for longer than those batteries may hold out.

"We are encouraging families three days, maybe even longer," Koehler said. "There were some areas where they went several weeks without power while they rebuilt the grid."

In just the past five years ice storms, floods and tornadoes taught us Mother Nature can pack a mighty punch; capable of shutting off as we know it.

Koehler said make a weather radio a priority.

"It is very important," she said. "Program it to your area."

No electric, no problem. Some have solar panels.

"Having batteries is a good thing but if we run out stil have batteries, you can charge radios," she said.

The radio can even charge your cell phone. Koehler said if you don't know how to text, learn and teach others.

"Sometimes after a disaster it may be easier to text because towers could be damaged," she said.

Then there are those items to keep you ready for anything.

"Some multipurpose tools," Koehler said. "This doesn't look appetizing, but a block of power bars. You also want a whistle in your pack because if you're trapped, you need to let people know where you are."

Don't forget duct tape, a mask, rain coat, generator and extras like a specially made flash light you keep in an outlet every day to store power.

Still not sure you're ready? There's a new Ready Rating System. Just click here to go online and register your organization for free. Any group, business, church, school; it gives you a grade and shows you where you need improvement.

"We have disaster kits at schools, churches, anywhere where people can be affected, Koehler said. "And most of us find out we are not prepared as we need to be and most of us find out we are not as ready as we thought."

If you're not there yet, keep testing yourself until you are ready to weather the storm.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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