Prepare Kansas

Category: National Preparedness Month

To help Kansans become as prepared as possible for emergencies, K-State Research and Extension is offering the Prepare Kansas annual preparedness challenge. It’s a free weekly online challenge through September that includes activities individuals and families can accomplish each week. By the end of the month, participants will be better prepared to withstand and recover from emergencies.

This year’s challenge activities revolve around:

  • Making a plan – talking with others about being prepared, updating family communications plan and reviewing plans for shelter and/or evacuation, including pets, taking COVID-19 into account;
  • Building a kit – build a kit of basic emergency supplies plus grab-and-go backpacks for family members and pets;
  • Preparing for disasters – know the difference between watches and warnings, sign up for emergency alerts and participate in an emergency drill;
  • Talking to your kids – children often experience disasters differently than adults and they need to have developmentally appropriate explanations of them; and
  • Getting financially prepared – set aside money for an emergency, review insurance coverage, build or maintain a financial grab-and-go box, and complete a home inventory.

Challenge activities will be posted here so check back often!

Disasters happen. #BeReady #PrepareNow

If a natural disaster or other emergency strikes, are you prepared? During September, K-State Research and Extension challenges you to complete the activities below and help us to #PrepareKansas. Not sure how to get started? Each week we have blog posts with hints and helpful information related to completing the tasks!



#prepareKansas throughout September

September is National Preparedness Month. It is also our annual Prepare Kansas online challenge. Prepare Kansas 2019 will provide tips on keeping food safe in emergency situations. Kansans and anyone interested in planning ahead for emergencies can follow the K-State Research and Extension Facebook page and this blog at any time during September, pick up handy information and interact with K-State extension specialists and agents. No registration is required. Today’s post is written by Londa Nwadike, State Extension Consumer Food Safety Specialist for Kansas and Missouri.

Many of us living in the USA think that a power outage won’t happen to us.  Unfortunately, it can happen, so it is important to be prepared ahead of time.  Power outages can be caused by the aftermath of thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter storms, floods, or a number of other reasons, making it important to be prepared anytime.

One of the things that everyone should do to be prepared for a power outage is something that is a good food safety practice even if the power never goes out!  We should all ensure that every refrigerator and freezer we use has a working thermometer in it so that if there is a power outage, you will know how warm the inside of the frig or freezer got while the power was out, so you will know if the food is safe to keep or not (more on this in upcoming weeks!).  In addition, it is always important to be sure that your frig and freezer are cold enough to keep your perishable foods safe.

Refrigerators should be 40F or colder (generally from 34-40F) and freezers should be at or below 0F, both for food safety and food quality.  Keeping your refrigerator below 40F will greatly reduce the likelihood that organisms such as Listeria, which can make you very sick, can grow. Listeria can grow much more rapidly at slightly higher temperatures such as 45F, so it is important to keep your refrigerator at 40F or below for safety.

Very few home refrigerators in the US actually have a thermometer in them, although most have a temperature control dial which can help to change the temperature.  It is very important to know what the actual temperature in your frig is, both after a power outage and anytime!  Refrigerator and freezer thermometers can be purchased at most grocery stores and discount stores for less than $5 and do not take up much room. Place one in each of your refrigerators or freezers in the spot you think would be warmest (usually the front or in the door) and move it around occasionally to be sure that the warmest spot is below 40F (refrigerator) and below 0F (freezer).

More information on important steps for food safety before a power outage is available from USDA: Keep Your Food Safe During Emergencies and Consumer Guide to Food Safety in Severe Storms and Hurricanes.