While many families across South Dakota have begun taking the necessary steps to welcome fall and winter, most of these decisions probably revolve around kickoff times and sporting events. Another important aspect about planning for the upcoming seasons is our state’s unpredictable weather. As excited as we may be for halftime performances and cross country meets, it’s more than likely that Mother Nature may cancel more than a few of our upcoming games and activities.

As South Dakotans, we have all come to accept our state’s ever-changing weather as part of its charm. From spring blizzards to fall freezes and extreme heat to frigid cold, the Great Plains is home to some of nature’s most fascinating and dangerous weather events. After living in South Dakota my entire life, it’s hardly surprising when we find ourselves revving up the snow blower in May or trick-or-treating in snow suits in October.

I believe it’s important for all of us to take the time to prepare and educate friends and family on the possible dangers we may face due to weather. September is FEMA’s National Preparedness Month, which aims to educate all Americans and help prepare families for any type of emergency. Although preparedness is highlighted this month, it’s important to remember that preparedness needs to be part of our daily lives.

It’s possible that your family may not be together when a disaster strikes, so make a plan to figure out how everyone will get to a safe place and how you will contact one another. Make sure to also figure out emergency plans at work, school and other locations where your family spends time. There are many effective resources to help your family prepare for severe weather and emergencies, including the South Dakota Department of Public Safety and your local emergency manager.

Take time this month to build an emergency preparedness plan if you don’t already have one and then go over and practice your plan with your loved ones. For more information about how to make an emergency plan and ways to stay informed in your community, visit www.Ready.gov for more information.

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