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Published: Fall, 2005; Vol 7, Num 3

 

Being Prepared is Everyone’s Job

Emergency Go Kit

  • Think ahead. Your family needs supplies for at least three days. Pack them in containers that are easy to carry. You may need more than one kit if you have a large family. Store your supply kits in a secure place.
  • Food and Water. Have a gallon of water per person for each day. Pack food that will not spoil and does not need to be cooked. For canned products, have a hand-operated can opener. Include baby food, if needed, and food and water for pets.
  • Blankets. Have one warm blanket for each member of the family.
  • Tools. Include a flashlight and portable radio with extra batteries. Include a wrench to turn off gas or water. Have a fire extinguisher available, too.
  • First-Aid Kit. Pack a first-aid kit, including any prescription medications that your family needs (but note expiration dates). Include an extra pair of glasses for family members with prescription lenses.
  • Sanitation Supplies. Have toilet paper or tissues, feminine products, wipes and anti-bacterial hand gels. Consider plastic trash bags for used food containers and other items such as dirty diapers.
  • Personal Items. Be sure to have an extra set of car and house keys. Have a credit card and cash (small bills). Have copies of important family documents (passports, social security cards, insurance information, etc.). Make a list of important contact information (family members, schools, doctors, pharmacies).
  • Extras. You may be staying in a shelter for several days, so pack a book, playing cards or a pad with crayons and pencils.

The nation’s rude awakening, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – that nature can strike with a fury and overwhelm the resources and capacity of government at all levels – brings new urgency to each citizen’s own preparation.

Alternate description

LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan

“We’re all thinking about what we can and should do to be as prepared as possible,” says LIUNA General President Terence M. O’Sullivan. “Government agencies are limited in what they can accomplish. Every family and individual should make a plan and prepare for the kinds of emergencies that can strike your community.”

The first step in developing a household emergency plan is to learn about the dangers that might impact you. Obviously, hurricanes mainly strike in the south and southeast. In the far west, earthquakes are a serious risk, and forest fires are a more common danger. Floods and tornados are dangers in many areas of the country. In addition to natural disasters, those who live in large cities, near military facilities or near key energy or chemical complexes must be concerned with the possibility of a terrorist attack. Regardless of where you live, getting prepared for a disaster is time well spent.

You should also be aware of how you’ll be notified of an event (if it’s not obvious) and how government agencies provide additional information as the crisis unfolds. Learn what plans may already be in place in your area to deal with catastrophic events.

Keep in mind that you and your family members may be away from home when an event occurs, so find out about plans at your workplace, your children’s schools and anywhere else that you or your family spend time. Make plans for childcare in the event you can’t get to young children. Because you and the other members of your family may not be at the same location, also make plans for how you can reunite when that becomes possible.

Consider the resources and special needs of others in your community. Perhaps you and your neighbors can plan ways, in advance of a crisis, to help each other out.

During an emergency, you may have little or no time to gather vital necessities. The sidebar lists supplies which, depending on the likely dangers to your community, you may want to have on hand.

Additional planning resources are available from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA): Preparedness Guides and Links and Are You Ready?

[Steve Clark]