September is coming to a close which means the days are shorter, the weather is changing, and fall is in the air. While all of these things signal the start of a new season, there is something else that takes place in September - National Preparedness Month. No matter where you live, you are subject to disasters. Natural disasters and man-made disasters affect everyone, can cause severe damage, and endanger lives and preparation is essential for the safety of you and your family. The goal of National Preparedness Month is to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year.
I’ll be honest with you though – I usually don’t pay attention to messages about emergency preparedness because I live in the DC metro area and we have pretty mild weather. Occasionally we get hit by the remnants of a hurricane, a snowstorm may pass through once in a season, or we may endure something more bizarre like the earthquake that happened in 2011. Other than that, I can’t say that we have to brace for impact – which has made me very complacent. This year, however, with all of the unique events that we have endured I’ve decided to take heed and create an emergency preparedness kit for my family…just in case. There are many types of disasters that can take place in each area of the country and throughout the world, so please take this advice as general guidance rather than anything specific and make sure that whatever precautions you take work for you.
First things first – you have to start with a plan! Let me be clear about this – ALL emergency plans that are created should have input from every member that live in the household. Everyone should be aware of what happens in an emergency and their role, so keep some of these factors in mind when creating your plan:
Ages and abilities of members within your household
Special dietary needs
Responsibility for assisting others with disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
Cultural and religious considerations
Pets or service animals – many emergency or disaster shelters do not allow pets
Need a template? Click the link to get a free printable courtesy of the American Red Cross that you can fill out or use a guide to create your own plan: https://tinyurl.com/y2bk73tx
Depending on the type of emergency, you may be in a situation that limits your access to food, water and other necessities for a few days. According to FEMA, a basic emergency kit should contain these items as applicable to your situation.
Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
First aid kit
Whistle (to signal for help)
Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)