Are you prepared? Answer these 10 questions to learn what you need to do

WORTHINGTON -- If disaster were to strike, are you prepared? That was a question Nobles County Emergency Management Director Joyce Jacobs recently posed to Nobles County commissioners. As leaders in the county, she said they need to be able to re...

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Hand-crank flashlights like this one are available in local stores. They don't require batteries and work great for emergencies. (Julie Buntjer/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON -- If disaster were to strike, are you prepared?

That was a question Nobles County Emergency Management Director Joyce Jacobs recently posed to Nobles County commissioners. As leaders in the county, she said they need to be able to respond at a moment’s notice.

“I’ll need you to be there as my policymakers,” she said. “If you don’t have your ducks in a row at home, you can’t possibly be my policymakers if there is an emergency. “

September is National Preparedness Month, and while Jacobs wants commissioners prepared, she wants the same for everyone in Nobles County. In disaster preparedness, the saying is, “The first 72 is on you,” meaning that in the first 72 hours following a disaster, residents should be able to take care of themselves unless, of course, they are injured.

So, here is the quiz, with a few extra details from Jacobs. How do you score?


  1. Do you have a personal emergency plan?

You should have a plan specific to emergency scenarios. Consider plans for family communication, sheltering in place and leaving your home.

2. Do you have a three-day supply of non-perishable food at home to survive without power?

Jacobs recommends granola bars, canned tuna, canned fruit, nuts -- basically anything you can open and it’s ready to eat.

“Keep the items fresh -- change them out every six months or one year,” Jacobs said.

Also, depending on weather, outdoor grilling is an option. People should keep foods their family likes -- and stay away from foods that are a problem for people with allergies.


3. Do you have on hand one gallon of water per household member per day for three days?

If power is lost, the water supply is lost. One gallon per person per day is the minimum recommendation. Jacobs’ personal plan is three gallons per person per day for drinking, cooking and sanitation.

4. Do you have cash on hand, in small bills, to make basic purchases if stores lose power or a cyber attack shuts down financial institutions/credit card systems?

How much cash depends on how many people reside in the home and what it may be needed for. The emphasis is to keep small bills -- $1, $5 and $10 -- to make purchases.

5. Do you have a power pack/external battery for your cell phone/tablet?


Keep the power pack charged. If the power goes out, a power pack can charge your phone or tablet from one to three times.

6. Do you have a “Go Kit” packed and ready if you need to leave home quickly and for an extended period of time?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s recommended list includes water, food, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, hand-crank flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, filter mask, whistle, moist towelettes, manual can opener, duct tape and plastic sheeting, garbage bags and ties, and unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet food/supplies, infant formula and diapers and important family documents.

7. Have you designated a person outside the area to use as your family communicator?

Ask a family member out of state to be the contact person for family members separated after a disaster. This keeps local phone lines and cellular signal free for emergency responders.

8. Do you have a plan for your pet, including emergency food supply?

Recent changes to the American Red Cross allow for individuals to shelter their pets in the event of an emergency. A pet shelter will be separate from where individuals are sheltered to avoid issues with allergies and other concerns. Service dogs, however, will be allowed to shelter with their owner. People should have food, water and vaccination records on their pet ready to go in the event of an emergency.

9. Do you have a first aid kit and is it up to date?

Check your kit and replace outdated aspirin, first aid cream and bandages.

10. Are you trained in CPR or first aid?

Training will help you be prepared in an emergency. Not only will you be able to help your family, you will be able to help others in need and make the community safer.

A few other suggestions Jacobs has to help people be prepared in case of emergency are:

  • Sign up for Nixle, a local alert system. To get alerts on your smartphone, text your zip code to 888777.

“When information is given through our local alerting system … we ask that people follow those instructions,” Jacobs said. “For example, if we’re asking people to evacuate and we’re telling them to follow a specific route (it may be) due to a chemical spill and we’re looking at wind direction so the drift isn’t in the direction of where we’re having people evacuate. We may have the instructions short and sweet and may not have all of the information about why we’re asking them to do a specific thing.”

  • Know how to turn off the gas, electricity and water coming into your home. Teach children how to shut off the power when they are mature enough and have the strength to be able to do so.

  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with items you may need if you get stranded on the road during the winter. These items can be stored in a backpack, a duffle bag or a 5-gallon bucket.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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