“The decisions you make and the actions you take may make all the difference when minutes count.” says Karen Sell, RN and Prairie Ridge Health’s Disaster Preparedness Chairperson. “Plan ahead so you are prepared to protect yourself and your family.  Stay informed.”

How will you be informed? 

  • local TV and radio stations

  • emergency sirens

  • weather radios (if it is a weather event are  helpful)

  • WEA Systems (wireless emergency alerts)

    For more info visit www.ready.gov/alerts.


    “WEA messages are text-like alert messages received by mobile devices during an emergency in your area. This is a free, fast way to receive critical information,” said Sell.     


Sell encourages us to prepare before disaster strikes by visiting Do1Thing.com. Do 1 Thing is a non-profit organization that wants to help build stronger communities. The website offers a 12-step program, with one step to complete each month, in an effort to prepare individuals, businesses, and communities for all hazards and to become disaster resilient.

“Be aware of the types of emergencies at home and when traveling. Don't be caught unaware of your surroundings,” said Sell. “Be ready.”


For questions, please visit Do1Thing.com, or contact Sell at ksell@prairieridge.health.

For the month of September, Do1Thing.com offers this step:

Make sure everyone in your household can receive, understand, and act on information received in an emergency.

Things to consider…

  • Emergency news or weather broadcasts may not be closed captioned.
  • Information that is shown on screen may not be spoken aloud.
  • Automated voices and voices over loud speakers may be hard to understand.
  • Information comes quickly and the stress of a disaster may make it hard to understand or remember instructions.
  • Words moving across the bottom of a television screen may move very quickly.
  • The screen color or color of the text might make some information on television hard to read.

Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do when they hear emergency warnings.

Your community may have outdoor warning sirens (also called tornado sirens) to warn you in an emergency. These sirens are meant to let people who are outside know they should go indoors. When you hear the outdoor warning sirens sound in your area it is not safe for you to be outdoors. You should take cover inside a sturdy building and get more information from television, radio, internet, or by contacting a friend or family member.

Call your local fire department to find out if your area is covered by warning sirens, when they are tested, and when they would be activated. Make sure other members of your household know what to do when outdoor warning sirens sound.

Some communities have other ways of warning residents. They may call by phone, or send text messages or emails with emergency information. Check with your local emergency management or sheriff’s office to find out what other warning systems are used in your area. Talk to family members about what to do when emergency information is given.

Get a NOAA Emergency Alert Radio.

Weather can change very quickly. Severe weather may strike when people are sleeping or unaware of the forecast. This can be deadly if people do not seek a safe shelter. A NOAA emergency alert radio (sometimes called a weather radio) can turn itself on when an emergency alert is issued and warn you at any time - day or night.

Emergency alert radios can also be used to warn about other emergencies, such as a chemical spill. With the Emergency Alert Radio, you will be warned about dangerous situations in time to take shelter or other safe action.

Every home should have an emergency alert radio, just the way all homes should have a smoke detector. They can be purchased at stores that sell electronics. Prices start at about $20.00. Most run on batteries or have battery back-up.

Make sure everyone in your household can communicate in a disaster.

The way emergency information is sent out in your community may not work for everyone. If you don’t speak English well, or if you use an assistive device to speak or hear, make a plan now. Make sure you can get and give information in a disaster.

Communities may give information by television or radio, by automated phone call, text messages, email, or by sounding outdoor warning sirens. Police or fire may use loudspeakers to give information as they drive through the streets. Responders or volunteers may go door-to-door to talk to people directly.

If you think you may not be able to understand emergency information, identify someone (or more than one person) that you can contact for help in an emergency. Have more than one way to get in touch with them. Keep their contact information with you.