APPLETON - Are you prepared for an emergency?
It's the question the Federal Emergency Management Agency wants you to ask yourself during National Preparedness Month.
The tornadoes that hit the Fox Valley last month left many unprepared and without power for days.
The tornadoes on August 7 came fast and furious through the Fox Valley. Left behind was more than $30 million in damage and thousands of homes without power for days.
"That was very much a wake-up call. there were a number of people who were ill prepared to deal with the fact that we were without electrical service for two or three days," said Outagamie County Emergency Management Director Julie Loeffelholz.
And Loeffelholz says for many, it's not necessarily a costly precautionary step to take.
A basic emergency kit should consist of a flashlight, weather radio, spare batteries, first aid kit and enough canned food and water to last for at least three days. Loeffelholz says much of it can be put together for $100 or less. But it can be a priceless resource in an emergency.
"You don't need to go out and spend $400-$500, you can get basic supplies from around your home and pick up a few extra things and put them in a tote or in a tub and you have got yourself an emergency supply kit."
Many people think because we live in a big city we have everything we need at our fingertips.
"Good question, I don't know, I don't know why I don't have one," said Christina Hron of Appleton.
But Loeffelholz says waiting until the last minute might mean you could be too late.
"It's kind of like when a blizzard is expected, everybody makes a run on the grocery store for milk, bread and eggs because they expect that they won't get out, but you need to have those things in place."
The county is also reviewing it's own response to the August 7 storms when sirens did not sound and a backup generator at a repeater tower was not connected. Loeffelholz says now is the time for everyone, including the county to review their emergency plans.
"As you said, everyone needs to be prepared."
And being caught unprepared isn't something Paul Werch of Berlin plans to let happen to his family of five.
"It's all about being prepared and giving yourself an opportunity to prepare for what is coming up next."
Christina Hron lost power for a day during the August storm. She says she moved to Appleton from Florida where she had an emergency kit for hurricanes and says she plans on getting one now.
"It's just kind of getting up and going to get one...it is important though."
Important to be ready for the next storm that is a matter of if, not when.
Loeffelholz says it is also important to practice and share your emergency plan with family and friends and discuss ways to communicate after a storm.
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