Natural Disasters: Be Smart, Be Prepared

2020 has brought another year of natural disasters, on top of a pandemic, underscoring the need to make sure the farm and your family is prepared.

Wildfires again in the west, Hurricane Laura and threats of others, along with the Iowa derecho highlight the need to be prepared.

AARP Oklahoma state director Sean Voskuhl says preparing for natural disasters during the Coronavirus pandemic adds an extra challenge.

“Preparing the farm or ranch for a natural disaster is an ongoing activity. But, in 2020, it’s important to further address farm worker safety, along with the safety of your family and farm, or livestock. The Red Cross recommends enough supplies for seven days per person, including water, masks, hand sanitizer and medications. It’s also important to talk about your natural disaster plan regularly with everyone involved on the farm, so there are no surprises when natural disasters strike, and have a communication plan in place when they do.”

September is National Preparedness Month, encouraging Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their communities. Voskuhl says it’s important to sit down and figure out what potential emergency you should be prepared for.

“It’s important to know what disasters may impact your farm or ranch, and how they will do so. Certain disasters are naturally more common in specific geographies across the United States. Are you concerned with flooding, severe storms, wildfires, or hurricanes? Know what types of natural disasters are more likely to impact you, so you can efficiency develop your plan.”

And, following natural disasters, Voskuhl warns, know how to identify relief scams.

“We hate to say this, but in times like these, after a natural disaster strikes, fraudsters are on the prowl to take advantage of the situation. They might offer to repair damage at a reduced rate but want all the money up-front. Or they’ll tell you they’re from your insurance agency but you don’t have the proper ID. Or they could represent a fraudulent relief fund. So beware, and do not feel pressured to say yes in these situations.”

Learn more natural disaster preparation tips by watching AARP Live Thursday night at 10 pm Eastern Time on RFD-TV or at aarp.org/aarplive.