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Preparing for Natural Disasters

Ways to make sure that you and your family are prepared for potential natural disasters.

Nashville, Ark. – Ice storms, tornados, floods, earthquakes…all are potential natural disasters. Most of us can remember a time when we were without electricity, water, and heat for days due to a natural disaster. Living in the south, it is bound to happen at some point. Are you prepared in the event a natural disaster happens?

            Being aware and prepared for potential disasters includes understanding the threats and taking actions to protect your family members and friends, pets, livestock and properties. So, how can you prepare yourself and your family for these events? Here are some suggestions.

  • Make a plan. First and foremost, put together an emergency plan. Work with your family and neighbors to make an emergency plan for the types of disasters that can affect you. Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. You can download an easy-to-use planning guide at
  • Assemble an emergency kit. Your emergency kit should fit your family’s needs. Basic items to include are water (1 gallon/day/person), at least three day’s worth of nonperishable food, first aid supplies and prescription medicines, flashlights, battery powered radio, clothing, blankets, insect repellent, personal hygiene supplies, cash, emergency contact numbers.
  • Update contact information. Having accurate records for family, friends and neighbors will help you stay in contact and may possibly help those in need. Make sure you have up-to-date phone numbers.
  • Check your insurance policy. It is recommended to review your insurance policies annually and make any necessary changes. When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will be available.
  • Plan your purchases. You can save money by thinking ahead. Don’t buy preparedness items just before a storm when they are expensive and supplies will be in high demand. Buy items when they are on sale and throughout the year.
  • Have extra blankets and sleeping bags. If you lose power due to a winter storm, you will need extra blankets and a way to stay warm. Stay in one room as much as possible and dress as warmly as you can. If you must use an alternative heat source (fireplace or gas heater), make sure it is ventilated to the outside. DO NOT use charcoal briquettes or grills inside your house.
  • Keep your car prepared. Keep a full tank of gas, blankets, shovel and emergency food in your car, but stay off the roads if you can. If you must drive, let someone know where you are going and what route you are taking and what time you plan to be back.
  • Stay indoors. Stay inside as much as you can. If you must go outside, wear layers of clothing instead of a single heavy coat; this will keep you warmer and drier. Wear gloves or mittens, hats and scarves to prevent loss of body heat.

No one enjoys dealing with unexpected disasters. Being prepared can help you survive it a little easier.  For more information or for free fact sheets on “Be Aware and Prepare: Winter Storms”, “Planning for Food After a Disaster” and “Keeping Food and Water Safe During Power Outages”, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Recipe of the Week

            This recipe is quick to fix plus it is great for families. Each person can add their own favorite toppings!

  • 1 can low-sodium, no-fat added refried beans

  • 6 fajita-size whole-wheat tortillas

  • ¾ cup reduced-fat shredded cheese

  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced

  • 1 cup corn (drained and rinsed if canned)

  • 1 cup lettuce

    Optional: add cooked chicken or lean ground beef for more protein.

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.

  2. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

  3. Spread ¼ cup refried beans on each tortilla.

  4. Lay tortillas on prepared baking sheets so they do not touch.

  5. Top with corn, tomatoes, or any other vegetables of your choice (such as diced onions or peppers).

  6. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of cheese.

  7.  Bake 15-20 minutes, until hot and crisp.

  8. Cut into quarters, and top with lettuce.

  9. Try serving with low-fat or fat-free sour cream or salsa. Yield: 6 servings

  1. Nutrition information per serving (1 pizza) – Calories 300, Fat 7g, Protein 25g, Carbohydrate 43g, Fiber 9g, Sodium 400mg


By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.