Jefferson County OHCE (Oklahoma Home and Community Education) meet the 3rd Tuesdays in the Waurika Sr. Citizens Center unless otherwise noted. Our March meeting will be Tuesday and Wednesday (March 20 and 21) 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day; Pamela Varner, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H Youth Development, CED for Cotton County will lead us making “Crazy Quilt Jacket”.  Contact Tara Brown for additional information and copy of the supply list needed for the Crazy Quilt Jacket.

Co-Parenting for Resilience:  Divorce or separation is not an easy or favorable decision, especially when minor children are in the home.  A class for divorcing or separating parents with minor children living in the home, is available monthly or as scheduled.  Our next class is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Pre-registration is required. Call Jefferson County OSU Extension Office at 580-228-2332 for registration information.  This class is mandatory by law in Oklahoma and is also valuable for Grandparents and other relatives of minor children going through a divorce or separation.

Safety is a priority during storm season

Spring officially begins March 20, and if you’ve lived in Oklahoma for any length of time, you know this time of year is the beginning of storm season. Being prepared for storms before they arrive is one way to help ensure you and your family stay safe.

When the tornado sirens are going off in your community, that is not the time to develop a family safety plan. Nor is it the time to make sure your storm shelter is not full of snakes and spiders or so many boxes of stuff there is no room for anyone, said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

“Springtime brings about many changes, including the weather,” Peek said. “A week of sunny weather can be followed by extreme storms. Sometimes this happens in the same day, so it’s a good idea to always be prepared. When severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases.”

Spring thunderstorms occur whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air. These storms can bring flooding and tornadoes, so preparing your emergency plan now is essential.

“The first thing you need to do is prepare your family for storm season. Sit down together and make an action plan. Write it down. Study your home and determine the safest place where you can shelter in place if you don’t have a storm shelter,” Peek said. “A room in the basement is a good example. Also consider an interior room on the lowest level away from doors, windows and outside walls.”

Everyone should have an emergency kit on hand. If you have a shelter at home, store the kit in there. If not, put the kit in a plastic tote or bag that can be quickly scooped up and taken with you to a shelter. Some things to include are a flashlight, weather radio, extra batteries, personal hygiene items, first-aid kit, important phone numbers and insurance information. Always try to keep your wallet or purse with you in the event you need identification, and if possible, have blankets or sleeping bags available.

“Include all medications you may be taking, along with a three- to -five-day supply of water and nonperishable foods. If you’ve got pets, make sure you have supplies for your furry friends, too,” she said. “If you’re unable to shelter in place, make sure the location you plan to go is pet friendly.”

For those with children in the home, encourage them to keep a few treasured items in a backpack or small bag they can quickly take to a shelter. These items may be of comfort to a child while taking shelter.

Something else to consider before a storm is to take a short video showing the contents of your home. Many people have smart phones with video capabilities, so this should be fairly easy to accomplish. This video may be helpful for insurance purposes.

“As we all know in Oklahoma, severe storms can spring up quickly, leaving little time to prepare,” Peek said. “This is why it’s so important to be prepared ahead of time. Having a plan and an emergency kit ready can help give you some peace of mind as we begin another storm season.”


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