I was pleased to have one of my 4-H leaders suggest this article in wake of the terrible recent tornados. There is a great Extension publication that you can download on the subject at http://texashelp.tamu.edu/002-protect/PreparingfortheunexpectedBook.pdf. This is a quick summary, with my own thoughts thrown in…First of all, make sure your family has a plan about where you would meet if a disaster occurs and you lost phone service. If you live alone, make sure you have talked with a friend about where you would go so someone knows you are safe.Keep copies of your insurance information and vital records in a safe place- a set in your home if you have a fireproof safe and another set away from your home. Keep a small amount of cash with these items just in case.Create a disaster supplies kit- a collection of basic necessities that you would need during and/or right after a disaster. Have every family member pack a backpack and then store it all in a big plastic tub with a locking lid for easy storage and retrieval.Pack enough water for 3 days. Each family member should require a gallon a day.Pack foods that will require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking. Dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter, crackers, protein or fruit bars, etc. You know what your family will eat. Also pack a few canned goods, a hand operated can opener and some plastic utensils.Extra clothing- 1 set per person, plus shoes and a blanket each. First aid kit- include sterile gloves, gauze, antibiotic ointment or spray, bandages, prescription medicines and some ibuprofen or naproxen.Emergency items- battery operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries, a whistle, shovel, basic tools, baby wipes, garbage bags, toilet paper and a state map.Special needs items- extras of all baby items if you have a baby, supplies for contacts or dentures, and if someone in your family needs prescription medication, talk to your doctor about storing some extra in the kit.If you have pets in the family, make sure you store some food and water for them too, and their other items that you deem important.Don’t forget to maintain the kit- replace batteries every 6 months and food as needed!