Prepare Kansas

Advisory, Watch, Warning? Understand these important terms!

September is National Preparedness Month. It is also our annual Prepare Kansas online challenge. Prepare Kansas 2017 will provide tips on getting financially prepared ahead of disasters and emergencies. This year’s program will be conducted through the K-State Research and Extension Facebook page. No registration is required, so Kansans and anyone interested in planning ahead for emergencies can follow on Facebook and this blog at any time during September, pick up handy information and interact with K-State extension specialists and agents. Today’s post is written by Mary Knapp, Climatologist and Associate Specialist Weather Data Library.

When we think of severe weather, it is important to understand the terms used.  The National Weather Service uses three specific terms to indicate the severity of the event.  Advisory means that hazardous weather is expected and likely to be an inconvenience, but not life threating if normal precautions are taken.  It is often used with heat events, floods or winter weather.  Watch means to WATCH for changing conditions.  The National Weather Service may indicate that they are expecting to issue watches several days before the storm’s arrival allowing more time for preparations. Warning means that the severe event is actually occurring.  Take action NOW.

In addition to the severity of the weather expected, the type of weather is also indicated.  These include heat waves, dust, high winds, thunderstorms, floods, winter weather, blizzards, ice storms, and, of course tornadoes.

What is meant by some severe weather events is usually self-explanatory.  Here are some of the definitions for less easily understood events.  A heat wave is defined as” A period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and unusually humid weather.”  Typically, a heat wave lasts two or more days.  Thresholds temperatures for a heatwave vary by location and season.  A severe thunderstorm, rather than a regular thunderstorm, is one that can produce a tornado, winds of at least 58 miles per hour and/or hail at least 1″ in diameter.

A blizzard is a winter storm where the following severe conditions are expected to last 3 hours or longer: more sustained wind or frequent guest of at least 35 miles per hour, falling or blowing snow that reduces visibility to ¼ mile or less.  Ice storm is used to describe times when damaging accumulations of ice are expected during freezing rain situations. Significant accumulations of ice pull down trees and utility lines resulting in loss of power and communication. These accumulations of ice make walking and driving extremely dangerous. Significant ice accumulations are usually accumulations of a quarter of an inch or greater.

Whatever the weather expected, preparation can reduce the risk to you and your family.  Have an emergency plan and emergency kit available.  Review that plan and refresh the kit on a regular basis.  Monitor conditions more frequently if severe weather is in the forecast.  And, take action when necessary.

What are your plans for this weekend, how about working on your household inventory?

September is National Preparedness Month. It is also our annual Prepare Kansas online challenge. Prepare Kansas 2017 will provide tips on getting financially prepared ahead of disasters and emergencies. This year’s program will be conducted through the K-State Research and Extension Facebook page. No registration is required, so Kansans and anyone interested in planning ahead for emergencies can follow on Facebook and this blog at any time during September, pick up handy information and interact with K-State extension specialists and agents. Today’s post includes a link to a video by Jamie Rathbun, Midway District Family and Consumer Sciences Agent.

TGIF and happy weekend! While it might not be the first item on your weekend to-do list, how about starting or updating a household inventory this weekend?

Not sure how to get started? This video from Jamie Rathbun, K-State Research and Extension Midway District family and consumers agent walks you through the process step-by-step with lots of helpful information.

Starting from scratch can be a big job. Start small and break it down room-by-room. Here is a link to the Kansas Insurance Commissioner’s Personal Home Inventory that Jamie talks about in the video http://www.ksinsurance.org/documents/department/publications/personal-home-inventory.pdf

#PrepareKansas – Week 1 Challenge, Preparing a Household Inventory

September is National Preparedness Month. It is also our annual Prepare Kansas online challenge. Prepare Kansas 2017 will provide tips on getting financially prepared ahead of disasters and emergencies. This year’s program will be conducted through the K-State Research and Extension Facebook page. No registration is required, so Kansans and anyone interested in planning ahead for emergencies can follow on Facebook and this blog at any time during September, pick up handy information and interact with K-State extension specialists and agents. Today’s post is written by Elizabeth Kiss, Family Resource Management Specialist.

Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. Prepare Kansas this year will help you take steps to be more financially prepared to weather any challenges, plus it’s a good way to stay organized.

You don’t know where to get back to if you don’t know where you started, right? This week’s challenge takes you step by step through preparing a household inventory. Why does this matter?

Emergencies and disasters may result in insurance claims. Your insurance company will likely require a listing of items lost or destroyed in order to document the claim. A household inventory is an itemized list of the contents of your home, including basement, attic, and garage. If you have sheds or storage areas on your property or if you rent a storage unit somewhere else, be sure to include a list of the contents of those too.

While it is true that there is an initial investment of time and effort in preparing the inventory from scratch, once completed it will be useful into the future with regular updating. Your challenge this week is to prepare, or update, a household inventory, include storage areas. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Household inventories can take many forms. Use the format that best suits your needs. Don’t get hung up on being perfect, if you are starting from scratch focus on the big ticket and hard to replace items.
  • When describing furnishing and equipment, be as specific and accurate as possible.
    • Include the original cost, date purchased, any alternations or repairs done on the item, and corresponding cost.
    • Photograph or videotape every wall in each room of your home and storage areas.
    • Include open closets, cabinets, cupboards, and drawers.
    • Take close-ups of unique or expensive items to document their condition
    • Date photographs; when videotaping verbally describe the contents as you move around the room
  • Don’t forget to include personal items that might not always be stored at home and items that are in your vehicles.
  • Save copies in more than format and more than one place. For example, keep a paper copy and store copies of the document, video inventory and pictures to a flash drive and the cloud.

Here are links to two examples of household inventory forms.

Personal Home Inventory (Kansas Insurance Department) http://www.ksinsurance.org/documents/department/publications/personal-home-inventory.pdf

Household Inventory (eXtension.org Financial Security for All) http://articles.extension.org/pages/11274/household-inventory

Want to learn more? Download this fact sheet from the K-State Research and Extension bookstore https://www.bookstore.ksre.k-state.edu/pubs/MF3055.pdf