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How well would your family fare in the event of a natural disaster?
Nashville, Ark. – Emergency preparedness is something we may not think about until
it happens to us. Seeing how the recent snowstorm and extremely cold weather affected
not only locally but our neighbors next door, you may be thinking, “How can I be prepared
in the event my electricity goes out and I don’t have any water?” Even the weather
announcers on the news are talking about Spring Storm season. How well would your
family fare in the event of a natural disaster?
During the time of a disaster, there may be no access to food, water,
heat or air and power for days or weeks at a time. Since food and water truly are
necessary for life, planning for them in the face of pending disasters makes a lot
of sense. Most sources recommend a minimum of three days up to a three week supply
of nonperishable food and water for each member of the family.
Find a place in your home where you can keep supplies handy. It may be
a closet that you designate or a corner of the pantry. It may be an area of your safe
room or storm shelter. Check the supplies on a regular basis and rotate as necessary.
That means checking the use by date on the packaging and replacing those that are
about to or have expired.
When deciding what to eat, planning is the key. Plan menus to include
as much variety as possible; three weeks worth of Vienna sausage, sardines, saltine
crackers and beans will get old quick. Plan to include fruits, vegetables, protein,
grains, and even some dairy products, if possible. Canned fruits, crackers and protein
sources such as canned tuna are easy to store and last for several months. When choosing
vegetables, make sure you have a way to heat them up before eating them. Dried or
canned milk can be great choices for dairy. Make sure you have enough calories to
enable you to do any necessary work cleaning up after the disaster. Also, be sure
to pack a manual can opener.
In a disaster situation, it’s best to use bottled water if at all possible.
Have at least a three day supply of water and store at least one gallon of water per
person per day. For a family of four that’s twelve gallons.
Purchase commercially bottle water, keep it in its original container
and observe the “use by” date. Or, if you prepare your own containers of water, use
food grade water storage containers from camping supply stores. Clean them before
filling with water. You may also choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles – not
plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. Milk
protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed and provide an environment for
bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Glass bottles can break.
Thoroughly clean soft drink bottles with dishwashing soap and water, rinse
completely so there is no residual soap. Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution
of 1 teaspoon non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach into a quart of water.
Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After
sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water that has been commercially
treated from a water utility with chlorine. You do not have to add anything else to
keep it clean. Replace water prepared by you every six months. Why go to so much trouble?
Ask yourself, “On top of everything else, do I want a stomach bug?”
Be sure to plan foods for infants, elderly persons, or persons with special
dietary needs. Keep an adequate supply of prescription medications and a first aid
kit. Don’t forget your pets. Plan a pet survival kit with food and water too.
Other things you might want to include in your kit include a flashlight,
extra batteries, toilet paper and paper towels, zipper type plastic bags, and card
For more information on disaster planning, contact the Howard County Cooperative
Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor
of the courthouse. You can also visit the FEMA and Homeland Security web sites on
Let’s hope a disaster does not happen in our area. Let’s be prepared in
the event one does!
Here is another great recipe coming to us from the recent Howard County
4-H Bread and Cookie Contest. This recipe was submitted by Adelene Westfall, a member
of the Teen Leaders 4-H Club. This bread is delicious served alongside any meal, especially
*Flaky vs. fine sea salt: If you do not have flaky sea salt on hand, you
can substitute fine sea salt. Just use about half the amount of salt.
**To knead the dough by hand, Complete step 1 in a large mixing bowl.
Gradually stir in the flour, olive oil and salt until a shaggy dough begins to form.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes until smooth,
adding extra flour if the dough feels too sticky.
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com
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.