Be prepared. That's not just a motto for Scouts.
Natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires serve as reminders that it's smart to be prepared for anything at any time.
June also is National Safety Month, when the National Safety Council pools information for consumers on how they can be safer every day including those disastrous days you'll never forget.
Where to start? Try these simple tips, suggested by the makers of First Alert safety products:
Put together emergency essentials. Create an emergency kit complete with fresh drinking water, nonperishable food, blankets, a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries and a portable fire extinguisher.
Lock it up. Store special documents in a fully submergible waterproof and fireproof safe. That can help ensure that important pieces of paper, such as birth certificates and passports, are protected from flood, storms or other calamities.
Be armed with CO alarms. Power outages often can lead homeowners to use fuel-burning generators; that increases the danger of carbon monoxide, or CO, poisoning. Install CO alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside every sleeping area. CO alarms should be replaced every five to seven years.
Are pests bugging your garden? Be pesticide-smart before you spray. Check out www.applyresponsibly.org. On that site you'll find tips about pesticide use, storage and disposal. No. 1: Always read the entire label first, then follow directions. (And don't spray on a windy day.)
Mulch, mulch, mulch. As the weather heats up, mulching helps conserve water while keeping your plants' roots cool and moist. When applying mulch, leave a circle around trunks or main stems to avoid crown rot.
Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.
In the vegetable garden, transplant seedlings for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and squash. Look for varieties that mature in 75 days or less.
From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers.
Add some summer color. Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena. Plant seeds for sunflowers, asters, cosmos, salvia and zinnias.