From Staff Reports

Weather events during the early spring season in North Texas can be both unpredictable and widely contradictory, making emergency preparations critical, according to Fire Marshal Bryan Ausenbaugh.

"Anyone who’s lived in this area for any length of time knows the suddenness and sometimes violent nature of weather events. Waiting for the sirens to go off before thinking about emergency preparations is way too late," he said. Fire officials warn residents to be ready with the three critical needs during an emergency: water supplies, food supplies and a disaster supplies kit. "Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. Consider that each adult requires about two quarts of drinking water each day. So, for a family of four, a three-day supply of drinking water would equal 20 to 24 quarts or five or six gallons. You’ll also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least an additional half-gallon per person, per day for this," he added.

Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off food supplies for a week, consider maintaining a supply that will last that long. An emergency food supply can include the canned goods, dry mixes, and other staples already in the food pantry, eliminating the need to purchase additional items.

"And, don’t forget to take your pets and service animals into account," he said.

In addition to water and food, an emergency kit should be assembled and maintained in a secure location. Among the items to include in a kit are:

n Flashlight

n Battery powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)

n Extra batteries

n First aid kit

n Medications and medical items

n Multipurpose tool

n Sanitation and personal hygiene items

n Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

n Cell phone with chargers

n Family and emergency contact information

n Extra cash

n Blankets

"This is not an exhaustive list since many families will have additional needs. Families with infants or elderly or special needs children, for example, will all have to develop their own emergency kits specifically designed with their family members in mind. The point is, get ready well before the need arises," concluded Ausenbaugh. A link to www.Ready.gov, the Federal Emergency Management Administration web site with more tips and advice is on the Prosper Fire Department web site www.prosperfire.com.