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Deadly Flash Floods in Arizona Happen During "Preparedness Month"

PHOTO: Fires, floods, tornadoes and other disasters can strike at almost any time. Experts say advance preparation can help people better respond to and recover from the impacts of a disaster or other emergency. Preparedness Month is a good time to make or update those plans. Photo credit: Arizona Geological Survey.
PHOTO: Fires, floods, tornadoes and other disasters can strike at almost any time. Experts say advance preparation can help people better respond to and recover from the impacts of a disaster or other emergency. Preparedness Month is a good time to make or update those plans. Photo credit: Arizona Geological Survey.
September 15, 2014

PHOENIX - September is "Preparedness Month" and flash floods in Phoenix and Tucson, which claimed at least two lives last week, may serve as a powerful reminder of how quickly a natural disaster can strike. Aprille Slutsky, public information officer with the Arizona Division of Emergency Management, says people should have a plan in place to keep their family safe if they are without heat, clean water or power.

"We really want to encourage people to work to be prepared throughout the whole year," Slutsky says. "Now is a good time to think about things you might need to do to be prepared for an emergency or disaster."

Slutsky says important items for an emergency kit include one gallon of drinking water per person per day, non-perishable foods that can last up to three days, flashlights, blankets and first-aid supplies. She says it's also wise to have a family plan of action, including how to contact one another in the event of a disaster.

Disasters can occur while people are at work and kids are in class, so Slutsky says it's important businesses and schools take the necessary steps to educate workers and students.

"Call your child's school to see if they have an emergency plan. Go to your employer and ask if they have an emergency plan. Get that conversation started," says Slutsky. "That will help the whole community be prepared."

Preparing ahead of time, according to Slutsky, can help people better respond, recover from, and lessen the physical, emotional and financial impacts of a disaster or other emergency. When talking to children about disasters, Slutsky recommends parents have an open and honest conversation about what children need to do so they can feel better about the situation.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ