Each year, state and federal public safety agencies designate September as Preparedness Month – a time set aside to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for unexpected emergencies and natural disasters.

While no one anticipates having to face a disaster situation, we only have to follow the news to know that disasters do happen and often have a direct impact on the lives of local citizens.

As recently as this summer, Hoosiers have experienced tornados and other severe weather in several parts of the state, causing significant damage and hardships for the people left in the storms’ wake.

Taking the time now to make some basic but essential plans can greatly improve you and your family’s safety in the event of a disaster situation.

A good way to start is by developing a disaster preparedness plan and assembling an emergency kit.

Your preparedness plan should include an assessment of which threats or emergencies are most likely to occur in your area, and what you would need to respond effectively. Identify at least two places for family members to meet should you be unable to stay in your house or neighborhood. You should also plan where you would go and what route you would take should you be forced to evacuate the area where you live.

An emergency preparedness kit should include basic necessities for up to two weeks. At a minimum, this includes water, non-perishable food options, a flashlight, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, a first-aid kit and blankets, medications, extra batteries and emergency contact information.

Depending on your situation, there may be additional items that would be considered essential such as baby formula for newborns, or specialized medical supplies or devices.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has many useful resources on its website ( to help you think through your own preparedness plan. Other helpful online resources include and

I encourage you to take advantage of these resources and plan ahead now. Several state and federal agencies, as well as our local public safety officials work hard each day to keep us safe, but there is no substitute for a personalized preparedness plan when disaster strikes.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas concerning these and other topics. My office can be reached at 800-382-9467 or by email at

David Long - IN Dist. 16 Senator

David is a former Republican member of the Indiana State Senate representing the 16th district which encompasses Waynedale. He served as the President Pro Tempore of the Indiana State Senate. David writes the "Straight From The Senate" column for the newspaper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer