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Staying prepared for severe weather

No matter when severe weather strikes, or where, you should be prepared ahead of time.
No matter when severe weather strikes, or where, you should be prepared ahead of time.

"It was pretty rough after we realized what had happened. We came out and two were on fire down here," remembers David Chamblee. After a tornado ripped through Chamblee's mobile home park in Benton last year, he's come up with a plan in case severe weather strikes again. "If it comes toward the Benton area, we get out of here. Of course, our kids are always calling saying, 'Ya'll come over.' They live across town,” says Chamblee.

Staying inside a mobile home during a tornado is one of the worst places to be. It's better to go outside and find a ditch or lay flat on the ground. However, the best thing to do is take shelter inside a sturdy building away from windows and cover up with mattresses, blankets or sleeping bags to protect yourself from flying debris.

To make sure he has plenty of warning, Chamblee also bought a weather radio. "It stays on 24 hours a day. We're just going to listen to the TV and the radio and if they say move, we're going to move."

Here are items Arkansas Department of Emergency Management recommends keeping in your Emergency Disaster Kit:

  • Battery-operated radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Do not include candles, which cause more fires after a disaster than anything else

Water:
  • 3 gallons/person, minimum, in a food-grade, plastic container
  • Additional water for sanitation

Food: Minimum 3-day supply of non-perishable food that requires no refrigeration or preparation and little or no water.
  • Dry cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned juice
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats
  • Ready-to-eat soups (not concentrated)
  • Quick energy snacks, graham crackers

First Aid Kit: (one for your home and one for each car)
  • Scissors
  • Sun screen
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • 2" sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4" sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 2" sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3" sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes

Non-Prescription Drugs:
  • Laxative
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Activated Charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Tools and Supplies:
  • Whistle
  • Aluminum foil
  • Crowbar
  • Compass
  • Paper, pencil
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Medicine dropper
  • Needles, thread
  • Signal flare
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Assorted nails, wood screws
  • Pliers, screwdriver, hammer
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Heavy cotton or hemp rope
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife
  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
  • Tape, duct and plumber's tape or strap iron
  • Patch kit and can of seal-in-air for tires
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
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