Disaster can strike at any time --- and one local nonprofit is asking, is your family prepared for an emergency?
"Do 1 Thing" is a web-based program, completely free, that encourages people to take one step every month for a year in a specific area of emergency preparation. The city of Lansing's Emergency Management Department created the program when they found people were overwhelmed, or simply didn't know where to start, to get ready for a disaster. The department says this is an easy and affordable way for families to gradually become better prepared.
"So who's the first person you would call who lives out of town?" Stephanie Haman asks her seven-year-old daughter Vanessa.
Haman is filling out a family emergency plan. She says it's important Vanessa and her two sons know who to call if disaster strikes.
"It helps my kids understand that it's okay to panic, but it's okay to be aware and ready," said Haman. "It gives them a sense of self-control and independence."
Developing a family communication plan is the goal for the month of July in the "Do 1 One" program, a simple way for families to get prepared for emergencies. The program focuses on a different topic each month for a year.
"For example, this is 'Water' month," said Erika Mahoney, an emergency management planner for Lansing. "You'd have three different things you could do, but the goal is to have enough water on hand for your family to last 3 days. And each month is like that. It's a fun thing to do with your family."
By giving low or no-cost options each month, Haman says it makes the process less overwhelming for families.
"It's chaotic enough with kids and family and doing things day to day, that it's nice for one month to be able to focus on one thing," Haman said. "It breaks it down and makes it more simple."
And the simple tips for this month: In case of a power outage, keep a phone with a cord on hand. You can actually plug that into any phone jack and dial 9-1-1. Also, make sure you have a car charger for the cell phone. If your cell phone dies and the power is out, you can always charge it in your car.
It's essential to have water on hand for you and your family. It's inexpensive and easy to store. It's also a good idea to store non-perishable foods - just make sure you have enough for each member of your family for at least 3 days. Figuring out a shelter, where you and your family would go during a severe storm or tornado, is another important step.
You can start the "Do 1 Thing" program any month, and follow the steps for a year to get your family better prepared for disaster. It's completely free to sign up - just visit http://www.do1thing.com.