Do your children know what to do in an emergency? Do you?
News of 39 deaths and heartbreaking scenes of devastation following last week's tornado outbreak in five states are poignant reminders that preparation is essential when one only has minutes or seconds to act.
Unfortunately, when confronted by something as powerful as a tornado, even the best rehearsed plans can't guarantee safety.
But preparation can offer a chance to save the lives of you and those you love.
Fortunately, tornadoes here are a rare occurrence. Still, residents and businesses should think about what steps they should implement in case a tornado warning is issued for the area.
At the same time, it would be a good time to think about the other dangers that Mother Nature could throw our way from severe thunderstorms, lightning and high winds to ice storms, flooding and fires.
Plus there are the dangers - from a chemical spill, to a gas line explosion, to dam failures and more - that could present an imminent danger to lives or homes.
Do you and your family have a plan in case if you have to evacuate? On the flip side, do you have provisions in case you are forced to stay in your home for a period of days or live without electricity, heating fuel or municipal water service? Do you know what to do after an emergency to remain safe?
It isn't possible to prepare for every possible contingency, but residents can put together an emergency plan and practice aspects of it.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency at www.readypa.org has information to help you develop an emergency plan, advice on emergency supplies and suggestions on what to do after the imminent danger has passed.
As busy as you are, find the time to do prepare now. There might not be time later.