Since some time has passed since we last saw major flooding, it’s time to re-evaluate how things went and how can we be better prepared for next time.

In the Midwest, it seems like it’s not if it will happen again, but when. Take a moment to think about what you would do or need if you only had 30 minutes to evacuate your home. The Yankton County Emergency Management office has some tips for you and your family to make it a little easier and safer. Get Prepared, not just for flooding but for any type of situation.

First, make a family plan. Consider escape routes and alternate routes. Plan escape routes for each room in your house, each floor as well as your neighborhood. Each room should have two exit points. Then practice how you will exit during a disaster. Have a relocation place. Is it your yard, your neighbor’s yard or down the street? Draw a map that shows all streets and names, so if you are given specific instructions on roads to take, that you know where they are. During times of stress, it’s easy to forget the smallest details.

Secondly, have a family communication plan. Put emergency contacts in your cell phone under ICE, which stands for In "Case of Emergency." Also in case you need to leave your home and the rest of your family are not nearby, have a plan on who you will call. This will help responders know who to call in case you are injured or unable to talk. Use an out of state relative as a central contact point if you can’t reach local family members. Make sure everyone has that name and phone number in their cell phones or in an address book.

If you are required to leave your home, be sure to disconnect utilities services. It may be necessary to shut off gas, electricity or water supplies. Never turn gas services on by yourself. Service should be turned back on by a service professional. Did you know that Natural Gas fires are the number one cause of fires after a disaster? It’s true.

Have insurance and vital records ready to go. Make copies or put them on a thumb drive and have them ready to go in your disaster supply kit. You might want a copy of medications, insurance policies, driver’s license or photo id, bank account information, credit card information, other financial information plus have some cash or travelers checks or gift cards on hand just in case.

Don’t have a disaster supply kit? Here is what you should consider having in one.

• Water, enough to last for 3 days. Each person requires 1 gallon each day.

• Food. Items that your family will eat that don’t require refrigeration.

• First Aid kit

• Emergency items. Flashlight, battery powered radio, maps

• Special need items. Baby formula, diapers, medication, special equipment like a walker for someone needing assistance

The Yankton County Emergency Management website has some good reference guides that you can download for free at: http://www.co.yankton.sd.us/custom/emergency-management

If you have questions or want more information, contact the Office of Emergency Management at 605-668-5289.

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