Nobody wakes up thinking that a disaster will happen to them that day, but it does happen every day all across the country and right here in the Quad Cities. A disaster doesn’t have to affect the entire community like a derecho or tornado; a house fire might impact one family but have devastating consequences for them. Taking the time to make plans in advance can help families and communities prepare for unexpected emergencies. That’s why the University of Illinois Extension has a series of five workshops scheduled in August that will outline proactive steps to take before, during and after a disaster. 

“Knowing where to begin with an emergency preparedness plan can be overwhelming and time-consuming, but being prepared can also save lives,” says Kristin Bogdonas, Illinois Extension educator. 

The free online workshops begin August 1 and will be held weekly at noon throughout the month. Registration is required before each workshop and can be completed by clicking here. Anyone who needs reasonable accommodations to participate should contact Bogdonas at kmbogdo@illinois.edu

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that individuals and families prepare to be on their own for at least 72 hours after a disaster occurs,” says Bogdonas. 

Workshop topics and dates include:

  • Creating an emergency kit and family communication plan: August 1
  • Securing emergency food and water: August 8
  • Identifying emergency food assistance programs and resources: August 15
  • Managing storm-damaged trees: August 22
  • Being financially prepared for emergencies: August 29

“When emergencies occur, it could be days or weeks before power is restored,” says Bogdonas. “Tornadoes, floods, fires, blizzards, pandemics and earthquakes all present a risk to a safe and secure food supply in Illinois. Having an emergency supply of food and water on hand is important to keep you and your family fed and hydrated until help arrives.” Temperature control, sanitation and shelf-life affect food safety after a power outage, flood or fire. “Hunger doesn’t discriminate,” says Bogdonas. “Many people in America are just one job loss, illness or missed paycheck away from hunger. There are local, state and national programs available to meet the needs of the population in an emergency.”

Illinois Extension also recommends documenting financial information and contacts before an emergency to streamline the recovery process and protect families from financial fraud.