April is Disaster Preparedness Month

April is Disaster Preparedness Month

April 12, 2022

There is no way to prepare for everything that could potentially happen to you or around you. Our suggestion is to spend some time thinking and talking about what you need to do for yourself, your family, your congregation and make a plan from there.
Many resources exist to help you. There are many good books on preparing for disaster and the internet has thousands of options. From all the things that we have read and seen, our best suggestions are below.

Disaster Preparedness Tips


  • Talk with your family about what might happen and how to act/react when disaster happens. Talk with your Neighbors, co-workers and friends about what you are planning and encourage them to talk also. Talk with the Church Administrative Board and Trustees, the UMW and the Youth Group.


  • Select two places to meet in the event of a disaster. One inside your home, one outside your home (in the yard) or even one outside the neighborhood and practice with your family.
  • Make sure that every member of the family knows who the designated “out of state” contact is and how to reach them.
  • Practice your evacuation plan and your meet up plan.
  • Make sure that everyone knows where your Disaster Kit and Go Bag are located and how to use all of the items inside them.
  • Select and set up a “Safe Place” in your basement, or a place that will protect you in case of a wind storm or tornado. Practice going there and protecting yourself there. Your Emergency Kit with the lid locked or taped on should be in this place.
  • Make a plan for your business, neighborhood, community, church.  Find out if your city has a plan and what it is.
  • HAVE A PLAN for who you will call if an emergency happens. (district superintendent, insurance agent, hospital, etc.)


  • There are many lists available, make your own, be practical, add what you think you will need.
  • One suggestion that was shared with us was to set up your kit, and then in the fall after the “season” has ended take out the items that will get stale or will be out of size and restock, and add winter clothing. In the early spring, go through it again and restock food and clothing so you are ready all year around. 
  • Basic Emergency Kit: 
    • In Watertight tote or container with a lid that locks shut, this should be stored in your home's safe place where you will take shelter during a storm.
    • Bible
    • Shoes
    • Water – 1 gallon per person and per pet, per day
    • Food – ready to eat, in sealed packages (nuts, dried fruit, sealed meals in a pouch, Peanut Butter, MRE’s. There are companies that supply dried/packaged food for emergencies - look online)
    • Toilet paper
    • Manual Can Opener
    • Cooking supplies – pots and pans; plates and utensils
    • First Aid Kit
    • Whistle
    • Dust Masks - N-95 or better
    • Sewing Kit
    • Pocket or utility knife
    • Battery operated radio and extra batteries
    • Copies of important documents – wrapped water tight
    • Paper and waterproof markers
    • Clothing and rain gear for each family member
    • Gloves
    • Disposable camera
    • Unscented household bleach
    • Water purification system
    • List of emergency contacts and phone numbers
    • List of Allergies, list of medications, copy of health insurance papers/cards
    • Personal hygiene items – Feminine hygiene items, hand sanitizer, soap
    • Plastic sheeting
    • Duct Tape
    • Tools – hammer, nails, crowbar, staple gun, Bungee cords
    • Blanket or sleeping bag
    • Large, heavy trash bags
    • Zip Lock bags
    • 5 Gallon bucket with lid – can be used to store things or for an emergency toilet
    • Matches
    • Coloring Books or card games for children 
    • Extension Cords – heavy
    • Cell phone charger or extra batteries
  • GO BAG – One for each person
    • You should have a “Go Bag” for each member of the family. It should be placed in a location that will be easy to get to in case your need to evacuate in a hurry, it is your “traveling” survival kit.
    • Flashlight
    • Radio – Battery operated, Batteries
    • Whistle
    • Dust Masks – N-95 or better
    • Pocket knife
    • Emergency Cash
    • Permanent marker, paper and tape
    • Photos of family and pets
    • List of emergency contacts and phone numbers
    • List of Allergies, List of Medications, Copy of health insurance papers/cards
    • Toothbrush
    • Change of clothing
    • Extra Keys to House or vehicle
    • Matches
    • Safety Pins
    • In watertight container or bag
    • Disposable gloves – Two Pair
    • Bandages – all sizes
    • Cleaning Agent – individually packaged wipes
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Scissors
    • Aspirin or Tylenol – individually packaged
    • Safety Pins
    • Special Needs, (Inhaler, Diabetic needs, etc.)
    • Small Sewing Kit
    • Water purification


  • CPR
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Basic First Aid
  • Hand Operated Can Opener
  • CERT


  • When a warning is given, DO SOMETHING. The Emergency Management System does not issue warnings just for fun.
  • A WATCH, means that the weather conditions are good for the possibility of storms.
  • A WARNING, means that severe weather has been spotted, Take cover immediately.
  • A good way to remember is “warning has an “R” in it that means RUN!


  • We love our pets, plan for their special needs and comfort too.


  • Scan all of your vital information; Drivers License, Birth Certificate, Insurance cards, Bank Account numbers, Contact Info, Will or Advance Directives on a “Zip” drive and send it to a family member in another town, or put it in your Safety Deposit Box 
  • A great resource for what to put into a kit is: “The Disaster Preparedness Handbook” A guide for Families, by Arthur T. Bradley, PhD
  • The Red Cross and FEMA both have preparedness websites that are helpful as well.

Iowa Annual Conference Of The United Methodist Church Disaster Response Coordinator (CDRC)

District Disaster Response Coordinators   (DDRC)