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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Emergency Preparedness - to Go !
What happens if an Emergency strikes when you aren't home...

Emergency Preparedness to Go
by Heather Beutler
Saturday, August 30, 2008

So, you have your neatly organized year supply of food and well-stocked 72-hour kits at your house. But what happens if you're not at home when the worst happens?


Disaster can happen at any time, in any place-and you and your family might not be at home when catastrophe strikes. There may not be a way to access your food storage or emergency supplies, so it is vital that you have some type of an emergency kit for each place where members of your family spend a signifi cant amount of time.

School Kits
Schools have emergency plans to help keep your children safe. How much do you know about them? It is a good idea to contact your school district to find out what their plans for an emergency situation include. Make sure you know your district's policy concerning how your children will be released from the school in an emergency, so you can designate a meeting spot to join them.

You can also help your children prepare a mini-disaster kit to keep in their desk or locker at school. This kit would be extremely helpful if your children are ever stranded or trapped inside the school, or if the school ever needs to be evacuated. They would have access to some necessities until help could arrive, and have an extra source of comfort to help get them through the crisis. This kit could include some of the following items:

• Compact emergency blanket
• Flashlight
• Food
• Water
• Condensed first-aid kit
• Identification card
• Contact information
• Their favorite comic book

This kit should be tailored to fit the specific needs of your children. If they are not comic book fans, substitute something else that could help them combat the stress and boredom that accompany emergency situations. Some children might also want a small toy to be included in their kit, and some might want an extra candy bar or two. Talk to your children about the kinds of things they think they would want in an emergency situation and include as many of their requests as possible. It is a good idea to contact your school district to find out what their plans for an emergency situation include.

Having said that, remember that this kit will need to be compact and contain only the essentials. It needs to be light enough that your child will be able to carry it for long periods of time without difficulty. It also needs to be small enough to fit inside a locker or desk without taking up too much room.

Similarly, it's a good idea for adults who work outside of the home to keep a small emergency kit at their place of employment.

Car Kits
Your car should be a bastion of emergency preparedness. If your car breaks down or you get lost in a remote area, would you have access to the supplies you need to survive? If you need to quickly evacuate your home, would there be enough basic provisions in your car to sustain you?

Your car kit should include water and food. Remember the temperature in your car changes drastically everyday, so choose food items that won't be damaged. Make sure you have a basic first-aid kit and enough blankets to keep everyone in your family warm. In addition to these essential supplies, your car kit should include the following:

• Flares and reflective triangles
• Flashlight or chemical light stick
• Emergency power source
• Tools to cut through seatbelts or break windows
• Fire extinguisher
• Heavy-duty rope
• Hand sanitizer and soap
• AM/FM radio with multiple sources of power
• Cell phone

If you are unable to contact help with your cell phone, tie a bright cloth (preferably red) to your antenna. This is generally recognized as a plea for assistance and can help rescuers find you. Try signaling for help using any other method you can think of: flares, lights, whistles, etc.

In addition to an emergency kit, you should always be supplied with some basic car-care necessities.

• Jumper cables
• Car repair kit and tools
• Map and compass

Customize your car kit to fit your family. Try to anticipate any special needs or circumstances that you may need to be prepared for. For babies you'll want extra diapers, formula, and blankets, while small children will need extra snacks and a source of entertainment. Consider allergies or chronic illnesses within your family and include any appropriate medications.

College Kits
Between books, tuition, and rent, money is stretched a little too thin for most students to devote much thought to beginning a food storage supply or an emergency preparedness kit, but it is still important that they have quick access to emergency supplies. If you have sons or daughters leaving the nest for school this year, help prepare a kit for them to take to campus this fall.

Young adults living on their own for the first time probably won't have enough space to store an extensive collection of emergency supplies. The kit you put together needs to be something they can keep under their bed or in a closet at their apartment or dorm. Young adults also usually don't have funds to replenish a lot of perishable goods or to keep up anything too elaborate. Keep the kits simple, including only basic supplies:

• Essentials: three-day supply of food and water and a good first-aid kit
• Clothing: jacket or coat, raincoat or poncho, and extra clothing, underwear, and socks
• Bedding: blankets or a sleeping bag, an extra set of sheets, and plastic ground cloth
• Lighting: flashlight, batteries, candles, waterproof matches, lighter, and flares
• Tools: pocketknife, radio, can opener, utensils, dishes, sturdy rope, and duct tape
• Hygiene Supplies: toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo, dish soap, feminine hygiene products, sunscreen, and basic and prescription medications
• Personal Documents: scriptures, patriarchal blessing, legal documents, identification, insurance policies, and vaccination papers
• Money: cash and credit cards
• Miscellaneous: prepaid phone cards, pen and paper, bags and containers

Some of these supplies will need to be rotated or replenished throughout the year. In the winter, sweaters, gloves, and hats should be included in the kit, while during warmer times of the year, a small supply of light clothing should be sufficient. Remind your students to keep everything updated.

It doesn't take too much to piece these kinds of kits together. Start compiling things for them today. Being prepared will help you and your family face the uncertain future with a sense of courage and peace of mind.

LDS Living, July/August 2008, 81-82

1 comment:

Ratliffs said...

Love this! Thank you so much for posting it! When T.J. started preschool, they had me put together a little package with a picture of the fam, favorite toy, snack, underwear, socks, emergency blanket, and maybe a few other things. I'm glad that they did this...makes me a little more comfortable with T.J. being away from me. However, I hadn't thought about some of the other things listed. So thanks for giving me a 'think'!