Plan for Severe Weather

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Mississippi. The National Weather Service encourages everyone to review safety plans for severe weather,

There will be a statewide test tornado warning Wednesday morning. Schools, government agencies, and businesses throughout the state are asked to consider participating.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency urges each citizen to develop a family disaster plan that includes having a Disaster Supply Kit, a Family Communications Plan and a Family Evacuation Plan.

Maintain a Disaster Supply Kit that includes:

Nonperishable food & water for at least three to five days.
A first-aid kit with any prescription medications your family or pets need.
Battery-powered flashlight and radio and extra batteries.
Specialty items for your family such as baby formula, prescriptions or pet-care items.
Copies of important documents including driver's license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth & marriage certificates, tax records, medical records, etc.
Cash & travelers' checks in case banks and ATMs are not available.
Bedding and clothing for each family member.

Develop a Family Communications Plan:

Ask an out-of-state friend or relative to serve as a family contact. After a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance than locally.
Make sure all family and close friends know who the family contact person is, and how to get in contact with them.
Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water in case authorities advise you to do so.

Develop a Family Evacuation Plan:

Contact your county emergency management director to learn of your community's emergency plan, location of shelters and evacuation routes.
Identify ahead of time where you would go if ordered to evacuate.
Keep a state road map or evacuation map inside your vehicle at all times.
Listen to Mississippi Public Broadcasting's radio stations, a NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations for evacuation instructions once an evacuation is ordered.
If you go to a shelter, take items with you that your family will need, such as games or toys for children, bedding items, clothing or any personal care items you will need.
If you own pets, many hotels will waive a no-animal policy during disasters. Make a list of possible hotels and call ahead of time for their policy. Shelters usually do not allow pets. If you take your pet to a pet shelter, the pet must have a current vaccination record, a pet carrier and their own supply of pet food.

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