It’s never too early to prepare for a storm

Be prepared — it’s the motto of the Boy Scouts of America and of emergency management agencies across the gulf coast. It should be yours too.

In the Gulf of Mexico, a mass of clouds is brewing a storm — Invest 92L — that has a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next four days.

Unfortunately for us, many of the forecast models track the storm heading through Mobile and directly into the Black Belt region.

The storm isn’t expected to become a hurricane or even a strong tropical storm. Worst case scenarios currently predict 40 mph winds, but predictions shouldn’t affect the readiness level of Dallas County residents. After all, no one expected Hurricane Katrina to be one of the five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history and the sixth strongest hurricane to form in the Atlantic Ocean.

Emergency management agencies preach that families should prepare disaster plans emergency kits and stock non-perishable food, but we often don’t heed the advice.

It won’t happen to us, we are too far away from the gulf, we say.

But it most certainly could.

It isn’t time to stockpile bread, milk and water just yet, but figuring out where your family would go if a hurricane struck Selma is never a bad idea. It’s also important to create a kit that includes items useful in an emergency — a flashlight, non-perishable food, water for at least three days, a battery powered radio, cell phone charger, power source, first aid kit and basic tools.

Dallas County residents won’t be alone in their preparations.

Along with the usual agencies that assist in an emergency — police, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and ambulances — Selma also has a tremendous asset just outside of the city limits, a FEMA staging facility.

The facility is stocked full of meals ready to eat, water, blankets and 1,600 mobile homes. Selma would be among the first to receive aid in a severe weather situation.

Craig Field also has an 8,000-foot runway that is large enough to accommodate a Boeing 747. Aid could come to Selma quickly and easily.

But a FEMA facility and nearby airport shouldn’t change anything about your family’s preparation.

If Invest 92L dies in the Gulf without dropping an inch on Selma, your family’s preparation won’t be in vain. You will still have a plan and a disaster kit for the remainder of hurricane season.

It’s never too early to prepare, but once a hurricane strikes, it may be too late.