September is National Preparedness Month. The hurricane season is upon us, to be followed by flooding and then snow and ice-storms. Are you and your children prepared? Could you be better prepared?
At a minimum you should have a three day supply of water. Plan one gallon of water per person, per day. Bottled water in sealed containers is less likely to become contaminated.
Have a minimum three day supply of non-perishable food. Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables; canned juices; high-energy foods like peanut butter; jelly; crackers; hard candy and sweetened cereals; ready to use baby formula; instant coffee and tea.
Assemble first aid supplies in a special emergency kit. I personally prefer an old, metal ammunition box (found at army surplus stores) as a container. They are virtually indestructible, and when closed properly are waterproof. In addition to commercially made band-aids in a variety of sizes, the kit should include sterile squares, gauze, antiseptic, soap, latex gloves, needle and thread, non-prescription drugs and at least a three day supply of all prescription drugs. Make sure to replace the prescription drugs at least every six months.
When it comes to emergency clothing and bedding this may seem like a no-brainer, use your regular clothes. While you probably have the clothes you need, do you have them at hand? Consider a small duffle bag with extra clothing, blankets, water and food in your car.
In winter loss of heat and electric due to downed power lines can be a problem. You need a plan to keep warm. Footed sleepers for children are a good idea for daytime as well as night-time wear. Before you need to use your fireplace/wood stove have a qualified person check to make sure there are no obstructions. A bird’s nest, however small, can obstruct the airflow and cause deadly carbon monoxide to build within your home.
Emergency tools and supplies vary. In the car, in addition to the clothing items, blankets, food, water and shovel mentioned above — carry a bag of kitty litter (for traction on icy areas); flares, a first aid kit (left in the car at all times); a basic tool kit (with needlenose and regular pliers and both flat and Phillips screwdrivers), a large flashlight and a charger for your cell phone. A number of people take their charger to and from the car. Buy one and leave it in the car. It does you no good if you have a dead cell phone in the car and the charger is at home.
In the house, make sure you have alternative source of light. Battery operated lamp/flashlights are far safer than candles in homes. If you must use candles, place them high enough so little hands cannot reach and overturn them. I also recommend a battery operated radio.
Special need items you should have are copies of birth certificates, medical cards,
For more information on emergency safety the following websites may be helpful: