Emergency kits: So easy that you need one when Sirens sound.

Ominous clouds developed as major thunderstorms arrived. What happened next in Greensburg, Kan., and Joplin, Mo., instantly altered the lives of many people. In two separate incidents, extremely deadly and damaging tornadoes descended upon each community, taking peoples’ lives, completely destroying homes and businesses, forcing the relocation of thousands of people.

Johnson County’s last fatal tornado was recorded in 1957 when a family of four near Spring Hill, Kan., died. Some say it is only a matter of time before a deadly and damaging tornado hits Johnson County or Overland Park.

Even though we are advised to have a plan to protect yourself and family, you may often forget.

But ask, what will you do if your home is hit, causing extensive damage? What will you do if family members are in different locations of the city and a tornado hit, knocking out power and all phone service? How will you find each other or know the condition of your family members? What about caring for pets? What if someone in the family needs daily medication but it is lost in the storm? In both Greensburg and Joplin, demand for immediate emergency services far exceeded local capabilities, which is not unusual following major disasters.

Therefore, you should plan to survive for at least 72 hours without assistance. This includes emergency food, water and first aid kits, plans to find each other, and work with relatives outside the impacted area as a key point of contact including coordinating and sharing information with others.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and local www.Preparemetrokc.org each post information on their websites to assist you in planning for a storm. Emergency notifications just a message away.

An unprecedented partnership in Johnson County is allowing you and your family to “be in the know.” Notify JoCo is a quick emergency alert system provided for free to anyone who lives, works or plays in Overland Park or anywhere else in Johnson County. By visiting www.notifyjoco.org and signing up for emergency alerts, you can receive information that pertains to your location and up to four others such as your home, office, kids’ school, or important sites. When an event happens in the vicinity of your selected choice, Notify JoCo can alert you via a phone call, email or text message to one or multiple numbers. Your choice, your decision