Are you prepared for an emergency? Hurricane Katrina showed Americans that they couldn’t depend on government aid agencies to help them in the nick of time. The Sinabung Volcano was dormant for 400 years before it erupted in late August 2010. These two incidences prove that private citizens should have their own disaster plan and supplies. Recognize Emergency Preparedness Month by making a supply kit, creating an escape plan, and knowing where to get information in case of an emergency.
September is Emergency Preparedness Month: Make an Emergency Supply Kit
Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after an emergency, but they can’t get to everyone immediately. Keep enough supplies to last you three to five days. Also basic services, like electricity, water, and gas can be cut off for days.
Items to Have In an Emergency Kit
Water – Have at least one gallon of water for each person per day. This will be for drinking and sanitation. Note: water stays fresher longer in glass bottles/jars. Can your own water to save on rotating plastic store bought bottle water.
Food – Have a large supply of non-perishable foods. MREs (Made Ready to Eat) are a good investment for an emergency supply kit. They’re lighter to carry than can goods and they have a shelf life up to 7 years. Note: if you have can food in your kit, don’t forget the can opener.
Flashlights – Flashlights are essential when the electricity goes out. Have hand held flashlights for every member in the household.
Radio – A battery powered radio is essential to stay informed about late breaking bulletins. It wouldn’t hurt to invest in a police scanner or a CB radio.
Extra batteries – Always keep a supply of extra batteries.
Whistle – A whistle can be used to signal for help.
First Aid Kit – You or someone in your home might suffer minor injuries from a natural disaster. In most cases emergency workers are attending to terminally injured people. Have the supplies to patch yourself up.
Mask – Have one mask and one back up mask for each person in your household. Masks keep contaminated air from getting into your lungs.
Candles – Save battery life in your flashlight by using candles whenever you can. Keep matches in a Ziploc sandwich bag to prevent water damage.
September is Emergency Preparedness Month: Create An Emergency Plan
Family Contacts – Have information for two in-town and two out-of-town family contacts.
Friend Contacts – Have contact information of two in-town friends.
Stay or Go – Depending on the circumstances of the emergency you need to make the decision to stay where you are or relocate to a temporary location. Use common sense and don’t make a decision based on your emotions. If there is an immediate danger leave your current location.
Plan An Escape Route – If you decide to evacuate, determine which way you will go. Be prepared to evacuate on foot if the roads are blocked. Get a local map. Determine possible escape routes in case of a disaster or emergency.
September is Emergency Preparedness Month: Stay Informed
Emergency preparedness also means to stay informed. Check websites, newspapers, radio, television, and mobile/land phones for information. It wouldn’t hurt to sign up for emergency alerts in your state. This service is usually free. Emergency alerts are sent to your cell phone, PDA, and email.