Getting Informed

Every citizen in this country is part of a national emergency management system that is all about protection; protecting people and property form all types of hazards. Think of the national emergency management system as a pyramid with you, the citizen, forming the base of the structure. At this level, you have a responsibility to protect yourself and your family by knowing what to do before, during, and after an event. Here are some examples of what you can do. Also, visit Ready America website.


  1. Know the risks and danger signs. Learn about the hazards that may strike your community, the risks you face from these hazards, and your community’s plans for warning and evacuation. Obtain information from local EM office or local chapter Red Cross.
  2. Purchase insurance, including flood insurance, which is not part of your homeowner’s policy.
  3. Develop plans for what to do. Meet with all family members and decide where to meet if a disaster should strike. Make sure to have all contact information for family members, also numbers for work and school. See sample forms from the Red Crossand the US Dept. of Homeland Security. For more information visit the Homeland Security site. See Recipes and ideas for developing your family’s preparedness planprepared by the City of Burnsville.
  4. Purchase an all hazards radio. This radio receives continuous weather information directly from a nearby national Weather Service office. These hazard radios were formerly known as “weather radios." They are an inexpensive way to receive 24 hour information of all types of hazards, severe weather advisories, and weather forecasts from the National Weather geologic hazard advisories.
  5. Assemble a disaster supplies kit. Have supplies at home, at work and in your car that will help you survive a disaster.
  6. Volunteer to help others.
  7. Mitigate/reduce your risks.


  1. Put your plan into action.
  2. Help others. Follow the advice and guidance of officials in charge of the event.


  1. Repair damaged property.
  2. Care for yourself, your family, and your neighbors. More information onRecoverying From DisasterTips on Avoiding Health Hazards After the Flooding ormore tipsRecovery ProgramsRecovering from Disaster HandbookFlood Recovery Information prepared by Iowa Conservation & Preservation Consortium or other flood recovery information.
  3. Take steps to prevent or reduce future loss. Learn about the hazards that may strike your community, the risks you face from these hazards, and your community’s plans. For more information, contact your local Emergency Management office at (507) 765-4937or local Red Cross chapter.


Disaster Supply Kit

Compile these supplies so they are on hand in case of emergency. Be sure to replenish these supplies when close to their expiration date.

  • Water: One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food: At least a three-day supply of nonperishable food.
  • Can opener for food. (If kit contains canned food). • Battery-operated radio/NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries: Batteries for your radio and flashlight.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Tools and supplies (paper cups, utility knife, hammer ,matches)
  • Sanitation supplies (toilet paper, paper towel, chlorine bleach)
  • Dust mask: To help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Visit ready.gov and FEMA Kids for activities for kids

Additional Items to consider adding to your Emergency Supply Kit

  • Prescription and non-prescription drugs
  • Clothing and bedding
  • Personal identification
  • Credit card and cash
  • Important documents
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.


Evaluating Yourself and Your Family

When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances other warning methods, such as warning sirens or telephone calls, are used. ~The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. Many disasters allow no time for people to gather even basic necessities, which is why planning is essential. 

Evacuation Guidelines

  • Keep a full tank of gas.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that will provide some protection.
  • Listen to a battery operated radio
  • Secure your home.
  • Close and lock doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical equipment.
  • Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in, unless risk of flooding.
  • Gather family and go if you are instructed to evacuate. Let others know where you are going.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. (Do not take shortcuts).
  • Be alert for washed out roads and bridges.
  • Do not drive in to flooded waters.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.



  • Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property.
  • You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area-hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold, flooding, or terrorism.
  • Each family should be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days.
  • Natural disasters are natural events that threaten lives, property, and other assets. Often, natural disaster can be predicted. They tend to occur repeatedly in the same geographical locations because they are related to weather patterns or physical characteristics of an area.
  • Natural disasters such as flood, fire, earthquake, tornado, and windstorms affect thousands of people every year. Everyone needs to know what our risks are from natural disasters and take sensible precautions to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Other useful and informative sites and information:
www.usgs.gov (United States Geological Hazard Page)

Emergency Planning and Checklists
The 10 P's of Post Disaster Safe Recovery