Special to Iredell Free News

As part of National Preparedness Month, the Iredell County Health Department is encouraging all residents to be prepared for a natural disaster.

Your family or those in your circle may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you will contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that everyone knows and is easy to find.

Here are four steps to help your family make a disaster plan to protect your family:

Here are some questions to answer together:
• How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings? Do we have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio to receive weather alerts?
• Are we signed up for local alerts in Iredell County? Sign up HERE.
• What is my shelter plan?
• What is my evacuation route?
• What is my family communication plan?
• Do I need to update my emergency supply kit?

When making the disaster plan think about the special needs of you and your family. Talk about needs and responsibilities and how people in your circle can help each other with communication, care of children, business, pets or operating any medical equipment needed. Keep in mind these things when making your disaster plan:
• Different ages of everyone in your home
• Are there are other family members outside the home that will need help?
• Are there places that you go to often (home, work, school, place of worship, gym, etc.)?
• Allergies or special food needs (baby formula, gluten free, peanut allergies, etc.)
• Are there medications or medical supplies that are important to your family to have at all times?
• Does someone in the home have a disability and will need medical devices or equipment?
• Languages spoken
• Cultural and religious considerations
• Pets, livestock or service animals
• Homes with children in daycare and/or school

Create an Emergency Plan for Family or for those in your circle.
• Here is a form to print off and fill in to make a family communication plan: https://www.ready.gov/plan-form
• Print off this form and work on it as a family to make a complete family emergency plan: https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/FamEmePlan_2012.pdf
• Watch these videos to learn more about how to prepare and make a family plan for disasters and emergencies:

Practice your plan as a family or those within your circle.
• Practice your fire escape plan
• Have everyone in the family meet at your special meeting place
• Go through your communication plan by texting one another and using group text to practice before a disaster happens
• Practice important phone numbers and addresses with your kids

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