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Emergency Preparedness: It doesn’t cost a lot to be prepared

Hoosiers can take some simple and inexpensive steps now to be more prepared for an emergency, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS).

A disaster or emergency – such as a winter storm, tornado or flooding – may leave households without electricity, heat, or even clean running water, and cut off from local groceries and services or even from immediate response from police, fire or rescue personnel.

September is National Preparedness Month and officials from IDHS recommend Hoosiers turn awareness into action and adopt the goal of being self-reliant for at least three days, in the event of a disaster or other type of emergency.

“Being ready for a major disaster or emergency is very important. The basics of a kit can be put together without a lot of effort or money,” said IDHS Senior Public Information Officer John Erickson.

Getting prepared doesn’t have to cost a lot of money if you incorporate some of these easy emergency preparedness tips:

·        Make a Plan:Work with family and neighbors to make an emergency plan –such as where to go, how and where to meet and what to do in case of an emergency. Go to ready.gov/make-a-plan for free downloadable Family Emergency Plan templates.

·        Make a Ready List:All the items in a ready-made preparedness kit may not be the right fit for all families. Each person should choose the essentials that fit the household's needs and budget. Sample Ready Lists can be found at ready.gov/build-a-kit.

·        Plan Purchases:Getting ready doesn't have to be done in one day. Think ahead and try to accumulate extra items, with coupons and sales. Buying supplies right before a storm can be quite expensive. Buy supplies at the end of a season when there are good deals.

·        Request a Gift:Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from family and friends.

·        Make Sure it Keeps: Water can be stored in safe containers, with no need to buy expensive bottled water. Just make sure water containers are disinfected and airtight.

·        Start Now: By taking small steps now toward preparedness, it's less expensive to get ready!

IDHS is gauging Indiana citizens’ readiness for emergencies and disasters through a brief online survey. The outcomes of the survey will help the public safety community gain a greater understanding of how prepared Indiana residents are and how to help increase that preparedness.

The 10-minute online survey can be found on the IDHS website at www.in.gov/dhs under the Featured Topics Section: “IDHS Citizen Preparedness Survey 2013.”

“We hope that this survey will remind Hoosiers of the importance of being prepared and what they can do to improve their level of preparedness,” Erickson said.

All who participate can enter a contest to win a free all hazards/weather radio. The survey is open now and will stay open until at least Friday, Sept. 20. Individual responses will only be seen by IDHS staff, who will gather the data from the statewide survey.