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      How to be prepared for a disaster

      Floods, housefires and tornadoes can strike at any moment.

      The month of September is national disaster preparedness month, a good time to take a hard look at whether or not your family is prepared to stay safe during and after a disaster.

      Tornado Guard owner Chris Spene says tornadoes are one of the main types of natural disasters mid-Missourians may face. "Any size tornado can happen anywhere. You just don't know, it's like playing Russian roulette," Spene said. "It's not a matter of if it's going to hit, it's a matter of when."

      Spene says shelters like the one he's designed are the best way to protect yourself against tornadoes, because they are placed underground and surrounded with a sturdy material such as concrete.

      "When you have tree limbs, metal, anything flying by at 100-150 miles per hour, it's going to feel like a bullet when it hits you," Spene explained.

      Tornadoes aren't the only disaster mid-Missourians could face. The Red Cross Heart of Missouri chapter says floods and housefires are two other disaster types many people face, and that anyone can take some simple steps to prepare themselves.

      "Make a plan, have a plan for your home," said executive director David Griffith. "If you're in the home and you have a fire, think about where you are going to meet afterwards. You should also have a place outside of the neighborhood to meet, because family members aren't always going to be home," Griffith said.

      The Red Cross recommends that you have at least two weeks worth of canned goods for each family member. A first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries, and a hand-crank powered radio are other essentials to have on hand.

      Obtaining basic emergency supplies is easy and cost-effective. Many of the most basic items can be found at any supermarket.

      Griffith explained that a budget for such supplies doesn't normally exceed $200. Any amount of preparation, he says, will be well worth it if disaster strikes.

      For smartphone users, there are also several apps available pertaining to disasters and what to do in the aftermath of a disaster. You can see them for yourself by clicking this link..