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Prepare for Emergencies As September is National Preparedness Month


September marks the end of summer. Schools resume. It’s the middle of hurricane season. September is National Preparedness Month.

There is always the possibility of public health emergencies. These may include fires, tornados, hurricanes, floods, acts of terrorism, and the threat of pandemic influenza. It is important for preparedness to begin with each individual.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Red Cross are both great sources for answers to questions and guidance in putting together family emergency kits and plans.

If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. Now is the time to prepare.

It is recommended that you have two weeks of water and food supplies for each member of the family. Don’t forget the pets and livestock.

A well stocked pantry can work as an emergency food supply. You can use the canned goods, dry mixes, and other staples from your pantry shelves.

In figuring the amount of water to stock, remember that a normally active person needs to drink at least 2 quarts (a half gallon) of water each day. More will be needed for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least an additional half-gallon per person, per day for this.

Store at least a 3-day supply and consider storing a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this much, store as much as you can. You can reduce the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.

In addition to food and water, a disaster supplies kit should have include the following:

* Items for infants - including formula, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, powdered milk and medications not requiring refrigeration

* Items for seniors, disabled persons or anyone with serious allergies - including special foods, denture items, extra eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries, prescription and non-prescription medications that are regularly used, inhalers and other essential equipment.

* Kitchen accessories - a manual can opener; mess kits or disposable cups, plates and utensils; utility knife; sugar and salt; aluminum foil and plastic wrap; re-sealable plastic bags

* A portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra, fresh batteries

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* Several flashlights and extra, fresh batteries

* A first aid kit

* One complete change of clothing and footwear for each person - including sturdy work shoes or boots, raingear and other items adjusted for the season, such as hats and gloves, thermal underwear, sunglasses, dust masks

* Blankets or a sleeping bag for each person

* Sanitation and hygiene items - shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm, sunscreen, contact lenses and supplies and any medications regularly used, toilet paper, towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent, feminine supplies, plastic garbage bags (heavy-duty) and ties (for personal sanitation uses), medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid, disinfectant, household chlorine bleach

* Other essential items - paper, pencil, needles, thread, small A-B-C-type fire extinguisher, medicine dropper, whistle, emergency preparedness manual

* Entertainment - including games and books, favorite dolls and stuffed animals for small children

* A map of the area marked with places you could go and their telephone numbers

* An extra set of keys and ids - including keys for cars and any properties owned and copies of driver's licenses, passports and work identification badges

* Cash and coins and copies of credit cards

* Copies of medical prescriptions

* Matches in a waterproof container

* A small tent, compass and shovel

If this seems overwhelming, consider purchasing a kit from the Red Cross and adding to it. This will help you and them as the proceeds from the sale go directly back into supporting the mission of the organization. Over the last few months, the Red Cross has responded to meet the needs of thousands of disaster victims affected by severe summer floods in nine different states; every dollar helps.

Personal & Family Preparedness Education
Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC Pandemic Influenza Individual Preparedness
American Red Cross