JOPLIN, Mo. — “A wild fire or a storm of some type, or we think about hail, or snow, or even bitter cold, it’s always important to be prepared,” said Keith Stammer, Director, Joplin/Jasper County Emergency Management.

September is National Preparedness Month, making it a perfect time to start preparing for storms, or any type of natural disaster.

“For any kind of potential disaster, there are three pieces of advice I’d like to give. Number one, make a kit. Number two, have a plan. Number three, be prepared,” said Stammer.

Stammer recommends safety kits include items like food, bottled water, medications and phone batteries.

“Put that kit in a place that you can easily grab it in case you need to go to shelter within the house, or you need to go some place outside where you dwell,” said Stammer

Now is also the best time to start preparing houses for the winter weather months.

“Look for any kind of, uh, cracks and crevices that might let in the cold air. Check your heating system. Change your filter. Think about a smoke alarm. Think about a carbon monoxide monitor for inside the house,” said Stammer.

Lastly, Stammer is reminding the Four States to be aware of fire hazards.

“You should be aware that we have a lot of house fires. Electrical cords are really bad about getting frayed and then shorting out. Too many heaters connected to the electrical cord. People not paying good attention to their gas stoves. There are several things that can be done around the house to decrease the possibility of house fires,” said Stammer.