Be prepared for stormy weather

Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Igor — what do these names have in common? They are all named storms that have made recent news.

Natural and manmade disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. Are you prepared?

Take these three action steps to prepare yourself and your family — Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed.

-Get a kit — Use an easy to carry, waterproof container to pack these basic supplies: water, non-perishable food, flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, medications, multipurpose tool, personal hygiene items, cell phone with chargers, copies of personal documents (birth certificate, drivers license, insurance papers, deeds, etc.), emergency blanket, maps of the area, extra cash, family and emergency contact information.

Consider the needs of all family members and add other items as necessary. If you have pets, you need to pack a kit for them containing food, medications, vaccination records and other necessary items.

-Make a plan — Meet with your family and plan to do in case you are separated during an emergency.

Identify each member’s responsibilities so you can work together as a team.

Choose two places to meet, one right outside your home, and another outside your neighborhood in case you have to evacuate or cannot return home.

Choose an emergency contact outside your area. Plan what you will do if

you have to evacuate. Practice, practice, practice.

-Be informed —Learn what disasters or emergencies can occur in your area, and how authorities will notify you during an emergency situation.

Learn the difference between different weather watches and warnings.

Determine how you will protect yourself and your family during disasters.

Mary Kinard is the community executive director at the Shelby County Red Cross. She can be reached at 987-2792.