September is National Preparedness Month.



Linda Geist

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The best time to prepare for an emergency is when there is no emergency, says Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri Extension health and safety specialist.

National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is held annually in September and is a good time to develop a crisis plan, says Funkenbusch.

In the past FEMA has concentrated on weather-related emergencies, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, you might want to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak in your household, she says.

Funkenbusch recommends starting at home with these basics:

• Develop a family communication plan. Review and practice the plan.

• Memorize cellphone numbers of family members.

• Keep emergency supplies of food, water and over-the-counter medicine on hand.

• Have a plan for prescription and food delivery if you are too ill to pick them up yourself.

• Keep copies of family members’ prescriptions and insurance cards accessible at home and in the primary vehicle.

• Assign one family member the responsibility of learning first aid and CPR.

• Stay in touch with others by phone, social media or email.

• Before you get sick, find someone who will check on you if you or your caretaker become ill.

If you need help or know of someone who needs help, reach out.

MU Extension offers helpful resources for responding to stress and improving health:

• Show-Me Strong Farm Families on Facebook,

• Missouri AgrAbility Project,

• Family Disaster Plan downloadable template and guide,