September is National Preparedness Month

Personal safety is top priority when an emergency occurs. It is essential to have a predetermined response plan as there may be very little time to react.

Be familiar with severe weather watches and warnings. Know where to take shelter in the event of a tornado.

Verify smoke detectors are installed and working properly. Identify two exits for escaping your home in case of fire.

Assess flood risk. Consider how you will respond whether at home or on the road. Remember - turn your vehicle around rather than drive through a flooded roadway.

Periodically review emergency response plans with family members. Hold tornado and fire drills at least twice a year.

Identify a location outside your home where family members will regroup for further instruction. In addition, consider how to communicate with out-of-town family members if cell towers are disabled or electric lines are down.

Put together an emergency kit. Some items to include: bottled water, nonperishable food, extra car and house keys, small change, flashlight and batteries, batter-powered radio, first aid kit, basic hand tools, sleeping bag, change of clothes, candles and matches, prescription medication and toiletries.