Collect! Share! Practice! Family Communication Plans

In May 2004, the “Hallam Tornado” (video) took a devastating path through southeast Nebraska. The tornado was on the ground for more than 100 minutes, covered 52 miles and was at points 2.5 miles wide. During the storm, we hunkered down in the basement heeding the tornado sirens going off in Wilber. My kids weren’t home at the time so of course I worried … “what if” moments. Is everyone safe? How do we let family know we are OK? 

Don’t wait for an emergency to think about the “What if’s”. The time to prepare is before something happens. Whether you are a work, school or home, it’s important to have a Family Communication Plan in place in the event of any emergency! Every member of your household should know how to reach each other and where to meet in the event of an emergency.

Once you have your plan, practice – practice – practice!

America’s PrepareAthon! highlights ten actions you can take to help keep your family safe in the event of an emergency. The Family Communication Plan has a checklist and a form where you can input your important contacts, print and share with family.

“TEXT IS BEST! If you are using a mobile phone, a text message may get through when a phone call will not. This is because a text message requires far less bandwidth than a phone call. Text messages may also save and then send automatically as soon as capacity becomes available.”

If there is an emergency, your mobile phone can be an important asset: Continue reading


Severe Weather Preparedness – Start Today!

The best time to prepare for a storm is before it happens. Storms may be severe across parts of the nation on Tuesday, April 26 and Wednesday, April 27 (map). Know the difference between a “Watch” or a “Warning” – Be Weather Aware!

What can you do? Prepare and/or restock your family emergency kits . Don’t forget pets and consider what steps you’ll take for livestock and large animals. Review your safe-place plans with family.

Make sure flashlights are working, grab extra batteries and get out the weather alert radio. Keep your cell phone charged – during an emergency, you may not be able to make a cell phone call but you might be able to text.

For help visit and

Stormy Weather

As always, check with your local emergency management agency for specific resources in your community. You can also contact your local university extension office for assistance locating the appropriate resources or agencies in your community. To find your local office, visit

Have a great day!


Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Severe Weather Awareness Week

Tornado Damage - Hallam, Nebraska May 2004

Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 21-25. We’ve all seen our share of “weather aware” conditions around the nation this week! On Wednesday, Nebraska had heavy snows, rain, hail, lightning and strong wind. There were blizzard warnings and tornado watches on the same day. As unpredictible as the weather can be, you aren’t completely powerless if you are prepared.
Continue reading

Walking Like a Penguin!

University of Nebraska-Lincoln posted quick tips this morning to help us all navigate ice and snow. I chuckled a bit when I watched the video because my kids already tell me I waddle a little – guess I’m doing it right! This video is only 1 minute long.

Stay safe this winter and remember to “walk like a penguin”!


Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

#SALUTE! The February 2015 issue of the free NEBLINE is now on-line


The NEBLINE Newsletter

The February issue of The NEBLINE newsletter is now on-line. Timely articles for you and your family! Here are some of the articles featured in this issue – – – – Visit and click on the link to the February 2015 NEBLINE!

  • Extension Salutes Our Dedicated Volunteers, Worth Half a Million Dollars Annually
  • 6 Ways to Workout While Cooking
  • Who Mentors Your Children and Grandchildren?
  • 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents
  • Choosing a Fire Extinguisher
  • Rain Gardens — A Green Solution to Acreage Stormwater Management
  • February Garden Guide
  • 2015 Flower All America Selections
  • Keeping Nuisance Wildlife from Bird Feeders
  • Meet the Lancaster County Extension Board
  • 4-H & Youth News, Events and more
  • …. and much more

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!


Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Severe Weather Awareness

Include a bright colored piece of fabric in your winter emergency kit for vehicles.

Tip: Include a substantial-sized bright red piece of material, flag or fabric in your vehicle’s winter emergency kit. If you are stranded in deep snow, or in a snowstorm/blizzard with limited visibility, emergency personnel will have an easier time finding you. Tie the fabric to your antenna. If you are unable to attach to an antenna, make sure you do whatever you can to make the cloth visible even if you have to drape out the vehicle’s window.

November 6 is “Winter Weather Awareness” Day in Nebraska! We’ve had an absolutely beautiful fall in southeastern Nebraska and with temperatures this week in the 50’s & 60’s, it’s hard to imagine winter weather is on the way.  We know a winter storm can last for several days and be accompanied by high winds, freezing rain or sleet, heavy snowfall and cold temperatures. During a severe storm, you could be trapped at home or in a car with no utilities or assistance, and if you attempt to walk for help could find yourself in a life-threatening situation. The aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or region for days, weeks, or possibly months. Continue reading

Pet Pre-PAW-edness

Pet Preparedness

My German Wirehaired Pointer has a microchip. If Baron and my family are ever separated in an emergency, officials will have an easier time matching us back up again.

In the September issue of the NEBLINE newsletter, Extension Educator Lorene Bartos shared information and resources to help our families prepare for emergencies and natural disaster situations. We learned how to “Be Informed” | “Make a Plan” | “Make a Kit” | “Get Involved”.

This month, Nebraska’s First Dog, “Snickers,” has also been active in helping pet parents think ahead in the event of an emergency/natural disaster. Your kit should have all the items needed to care for your individual pet. A pet lizard will need different survival items in a kit than for a bird or hamster. Here are some of the items Snickers suggests putting in a kit for your pet dog/cat:

  • 3-7 day supply pet food in a watertight container.
  • 3-7 day supply of water just for your pet.
  • Any pet medicines.
  • Bowls for eating/drinking.
  • A pet first aid kit (cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea/tick prevention, isopropyl alcohol, saline solution).
  • Extra collar, leash, ID/rabies tag in case your pet loses anything in the shuffle.
  • Your pet’s papers and any medical records.
  • Your pet’s carrier – big enough to stand up in.
  • Plastic bags, bleach/sanitary wipes, paper towels for any pet messes. If you have a cat, include litter and a litter box.
  • A recent photo of your pet with your family so people know you belong with your pet in the event you are separated.
  • Other: towel, blanket, treats, toys, blankets.

Continue reading