Viewpoint: 'Tis the time to prepare for disaster

Are you and your family ready for a disaster? If you're not, now is the time to prepare.

Hurricane season begins June 1st, but we've already had two tropical storms. Just this week, Beryl made landfall near Georgia. It didn't cause any major problems, but next time, we may not be so lucky.

In addition to weather dangers, we face other threats. Dangerous chemicals are transported through our neighborhoods on rails and roads every day. Have you ever thought how you would react if a toxic leak forced you to evacuate?

Recently, we put an Albany family to the test. We gave them five minutes to gather whatever they could and get out of their home. The Cooks did pretty well. They packed a couple of suitcases, grabbed some important documents, and strapped the kids in the car within five minutes.

But they forgot things like food and water, a cell phone charger, a flashlight, even their dog.

The Red Cross has some excellent tips to help you pack an emergency kit ahead of time and prepare for any kind of disaster. Every family should check it out and make some emergency plans.

Hopefully, you'll never need to put the plan in action, but one day it might just help save your life.