Americus -- Many California fire victims had only minutes to evacuate their homes as flames roared into their neighborhoods. Would you be ready if a disaster hit your community so quickly? Emergency responders have some advice to help you get prepared.
Americus knows natural disaster well.
"We've had two major disasters. The flood of 94 and of course the tornado," says Bill Bird with the American Red Cross.
He's referring to the March 1st tornado that killed two people in the city and left many homes and businesses in shambles.
Devastation from the tornado that hit Americus is still very present here and though you may not be able to predict when a disaster will strike, you can prepare.
The preparation can come in the form of a simple kit you can make and keep at home.
"A home kit they can pick up and carry with them if they have to evacuate or if they're sheltered in place, they can have that available to them," Bird says.
You don't have to put a lot of money into it. Simply put aside a few simple things that can aid you in an emergency.
"A weather alert radio with batteries and a first aid kit," Bird suggests.
You'll also want a personal kit with items you can easily take with you if a disaster strikes, that you can have available for 3 to 5 days.
It should include important medicine you may be taking, cash, one gallon of water per person, a change of clothes, and non-perishable foods.
"Go through those kits once a year and replace those food items. The cans may be dented or the food may be spoiled so get that out," he suggests.
It doesn't matter where you live. When mother nature calls, you have to be ready.
"Those people in California that were given minutes notice to get out. They didn't have a chance to take their valuable records, their pictures, birth certificates. Those kind of items need to be a part of that kit as well."
Because time may not allow you to put one together when you have to run for your life.
Bird also suggests you pick a place where your family can meet if you get separated during a disaster.