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      Have you 'made a plan'? Amarillo promotes National Preparedness Month

      From tornados, to wildfires or even a winter ice storm, the people of the Panhandle should always be prepared for a natural disaster. That's why throughout the month of September, federal, state and local agencies are promoting National Preparedness Month.

      "It's just a great opportunity for us to partner up with both the state and federal groups and the agencies that do similar activities on those levels as we do on a local level to focus in on what things you need to do to prepare yourself and your family for potential threats that exist in your community," said Amarillo/Potter/Randall Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Starbuck.

      According to Starbuck, that preparation should include preparing for the types of severe weather we see most often in the Panhandle like tornados or severe winter storms. Folks should also consider things like wildfires or even how they would respond to being evacuated for a dangerous situation such as an explosion or hazardous material.

      "The explosion of the pipeline out near Bushland or the railcar incident in downtown where it required us to move some people away from the hazardous area so have a plan on how you would quickly and rapidly evacuate you and your family if a situation presents itself," added Starbuck. "It's very important."

      This week during National Preparedness Month highlights "Making A Plan". That can include mapping out the appropriate exits in your house, locating a main highway near your home in case you need to evacuate or even investigating how close any major pipelines are to your home.

      "Doing a written plan may not be entirely necessary but actually taking time once or twice a year at a minimum, sitting down and visiting about how you would respond, what things you need to know, what things you need to do is so important," he said. "It's just invaluable time.

      Throughout the rest of the month, the Office of Emergency Management in Amarillo along with other local agencies like the fire department, police department and National Weather Service will be hosting various events around the community the encourage citizens to be prepared and make a plan. Visit their website for more information.