September is National Preparedness Month, which is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  National Preparedness Month is intended to help individuals understand the importance of preparing for natural and man-made disasters

The year 2020 has been a one for the record books.  There have been record setting hurricanes, wildfires, and a pandemic.  These hardships clearly illustrate the importance of emergency preparedness.  

Family Emergency Communication Plans

Family emergency communication plans should be made before disaster strikes.  The FEMA website,, can be used to create a communication plan that all family members can use. 

The emergency plan should include emergency contact phone numbers, medical information, insurance information, emergency safe rooms, post emergency meeting areas, evacuation plans, and out of town contacts that can help reconnect family members.

Emergency Supply Kits

It is important to prepare emergency supply kits in advance.  Disasters can put a premium on necessities. Damaged roads, bridges, reduced gasoline supplies, and power outages can prevent you from getting needed supplies. These kits should include enough water, food, and other supplies to last a minimum of three days.

FEMA recommends emergency kits include the following supplies:

Water- one gallon per person per day

Food- a three-day supply of non-perishable food

Battery-powered radio and extra batteries

Flashlight and extra batteries

First Aid Kit

Baby wipes 

Manual can opener

Tools - include an adjustable wrench and pliers

Garbage bags

Dust mask

Plastic sheeting and duct tape


Baby supplies including formula and diapers if needed

Important family documents

Whistle to signal for help


Pets and livestock

Pets and livestock can become an afterthought during a storm or other emergency.  Steps should be taken to ensure their well-being.  The Mississippi State University Extension Service publication “Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners”gives valuable information to protect pets.  

Steps should be taken to keep pets with you during and after the emergency. Pets should be clearly identified in case of separation from the owner.  Pets should always have a collar or a micro-chip with owner and veterinarian contact information.  

Pets should be current on all vaccinations and medications. A pet emergency kit should include extra leashes, collars, medications, a pet carrier, and a three day supply of food and water.  Also, know who to contact in case of an emergency including a veterinarian, local MSU Extension Service Office, or local emergency management agency.

Preparations should be made for large animals including cattle and horses as well. The MSU Extension Service publication “Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery for Beef-Cattle” gives helpful information to protect livestock. 

Producers should register with the Mississippi Animal, Disease and Disaster Preparedness Program.  This information will allow state animal health officials to provide assistance after the emergency.  

Trucks and trailers should be in good condition in case evacuation is necessary.  Locations to house large animals should be identified including agri-centers or sale barns.  If evacuation is impractical, the livestock should be kept in open pastures where there is access to high ground.  

Livestock should never be left in a barn or other structure that could collapse during a storm. Large animals should have permanent identification including microchips, brands, or tattoos. Livestock should also be current on all vaccinations and medications.  

Following the steps above can help make the aftermath of an emergency or disaster more bearable and less stressful.  


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