my job revolves around planning for emergencies and disasters… large or small… and with the current state of affairs around our country i thought i would take a minute to offer up a little PSA… i know many of you are on the east coast looking forward to Irene stopping in for a brief visit… then there are the earthquakes in odd spots… Oklahoma, Virginia…
so if you are interested, keep reading… I’m going to put some things here now that help with awareness, planning, and preparedness…. most everything i’m sharing is public information and comes from a little known website called READY … go check it out… there are all sorts of instructional videos about disabilities, pets, etc….
ok, so now on with it… here is a list of things you should consider putting in what’s called a ready kit, or go-kit:
When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.
Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
- Water, one gallon of water 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 and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
- Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water.
- If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary.
- Store water tightly in clean plastic containers such as soft drink bottles.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.
- Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water.
- Pack a manual can opener and eating utensils.
- Avoid salty foods, as they will make you thirsty.
- Choose foods your family will eat.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- High energy foods
- Food for infants
- Comfort/stress foods
Flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power from high winds, snow, or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food. Knowing what to do before and after an emergency can help you reduce your risk of illness. By following these guidelines, you can also minimize the amount of food that may be lost due to spoilage.
Power outages can occur at any time of the year and it may take from a few hours to several days for electricity to be restored to residential areas. Without electricity or a cold source, food stored in refrigerators and freezers can become unsafe. Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 °F, and if these foods are consumed, people can become very sick.
Some potential emergencies could send tiny microscopic “junk” into the air. For example flooding could create airborne mold which could make you sick and an explosion may release very fine debris that can cause lung damage. A biological terrorist attack may release germs that can make you sick if inhaled or absorbed through open cuts. Many of these agents can only hurt you if they get into your body, so think about creating a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
Nose And Mouth Protection
Face masks or dense-weave cotton material, that snugly covers your nose and mouth and is specifically fit for each member of the family. Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children.
Be prepared to improvise with what you have on hand to protect your nose, mouth, eyes and cuts in your skin. Anything that fits snugly over your nose and mouth, including any dense-weave cotton material, can help filter contaminants in an emergency. It is very important that most of the air you breathe comes through the mask or cloth, not around it.
Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children. There are also a variety of face masks readily available in hardware stores that are rated based on how small a particle they can filter in an industrial setting.
Given the different types of emergencies that could occur, there is not one solution for creating a barrier between yourself and any contamination in the air. Simple cloth face masks can filter some of the airborne particulates or germs you could inhale, but will probably not protect you from chemical gases. Still, something over your nose and mouth in an emergency is better than nothing. Limiting how much foreign matter is inhaled may impact whether or not you get sick or develop disease.
- Heavyweight plastic garbage bags or plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
There are circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as “shelter-in-place,” is a matter of survival. You can use these things to tape up windows, doors and air vents if you need to seal off a room from outside contamination. Consider precutting and labeling these materials. Anything you can do in advance will save time when it counts.
Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you can use these things to tape up windows, doors and air vents if you need to seal off a room.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration) Filter Fans
Once you have sealed a room with plastic sheeting and duct tape you may have created a better barrier between you and any contaminants that may be outside. However, no seal is perfect and some leakage is likely. In addition to which, you may find yourself in a space that is already contaminated to some degree.
Consider a portable air purifier, with a HEPA filter, to help remove contaminants from the room where you are sheltering. These highly efficient filters have small sieves that can capture very tiny particles, including some biological agents. Once trapped within a HEPA filter contaminants cannot get into your body and make you sick. While these filters are excellent at filtering dander, dust, molds, smoke, biological agents and other contaminants, they will not stop chemical gases.
Some people, particularly those with severe allergies and asthma, use HEPA filters in masks, portable air purifiers as well as in larger home or industrial models to continuously filter the air.
#ff0000;">First Aid Kit
In any emergency a family member or you yourself may be cut, burned or suffer other injuries. If you have these basic supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt. Remember, many injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate medical attention. Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. Consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.
Things You Should Have:
- Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex).
- Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
- Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect.
- Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
- Burn ointment to prevent infection.
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes.
- Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant.
- Thermometer (Read more: Biological Threat)
- Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.
Things That May Be Good To Have In Your Kit:
- Cell phone with charger
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for upset stomach)
#0000ff;">Unique Family Needs
Remember the unique needs of your family members when making your emergency supply kit and family emergency plan.
#000000; font-size: 17px; line-height: 25px;">For Baby:
- Powdered milk
- Moist towelettes
- Diaper rash ointment
#000000; font-size: 17px; line-height: 25px;">For Adults:
- Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin and other prescription drugs.
- Denture needs
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Extra eye glasses
#ff6600;">People with Disabilities & Other Special Needs
All individuals, including people with disabilities, should take the time before a disaster to plan for survival at home, in a shelter, or elsewhere in the event of an actual emergency. In addition to Ready.gov’s recommended items toinclude in a basic emergency supply kit(www.ready.gov/america/getakit/), people with disabilities and other access and functional needs may wish to consider the following in their preparations.
Now is the time to plan ahead for what you may need to stay safe, healthy, informed, mobile, and independent during a disaster. Remember that a disaster may require sheltering-in-place at home or evacuating to an emergency shelter or other form of temporary housing.
Plan To Maintain Your Independence Before An Emergency Strikes:
As you prepare, consider all the strategies, services, devices, tools and techniques you use to live with a disability on a daily basis. Keep in mind that you may need medications, durable medical equipment, consumable medical supplies, your service animal, assistive technology, communications tools, disability service providers, accessible housing, transportation, and health-related items.
- Create a support network to help you plan for an emergency. Consider family, neighbors, friends, people who provide services to you, faith-based and community groups. Tell these people where you keep your emergency supplies. Give at least one member of your support network a key to your house or apartment.
- Contact your city or county government’s emergency information management office and work with them to use their emergency planning resources.
- If you receive dialysis or other life sustaining medical treatment, identify the location and availability of more than one facility and work with your provider to develop your personal emergency plan.
- Show others how to operate your wheelchair or other assistive devices.
- Keep contact information for local independent living centers and other disability services organizations in a safe and easy-to-access place. If you provide any organizations or service providers with information about your functional needs and what you may require in an emergency, keep that data up to date.
- If you use in-home support services, Meals-on-Wheels, Life Alert or other support services, work with them to personalize emergency preparedness plans to meet your needs so you can keep in touch with them during and after an emergency. That contact may be your lifeline to other services in a disaster.
- Work with local transportation and disability services (e.g., Paratransit, Independent Living Centers) to plan ahead for accessible transportation if you may need that for evacuation or other reasons during a disaster.
- Develop back-up plans for personal assistance services, hospice, or other forms of in-home assistance.
- Keep in mind that during an emergency, you may need to explain to first responders and emergency officials that you need to evacuate and shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, or personal assistance provider so they can provide the support you need to maintain your health, safety and independence.
Depending On Your Needs, Items For Your Go Kit May Include:#444444; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">
- Extra eyeglasses, hearing aids if you have them, or have coverage for them
- Battery chargers and extra batteries for hearing aids, motorized wheelchairs, or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices
- Copies of medical prescriptions, doctors orders, and the style and serial numbers of the support devices you use
- Medical alert tags or bracelets or written descriptions of your disability and support needs, in case you are unable to describe the situation in an emergency
- Supplies for your service animal Medical insurance cards, Medicare/Medicaid cards, physician contact information, list of your allergies and health history
- A list of the local non-profit or community-based organizations that know you or assist people with access and functional needs similar to yours.
- A list of personal contacts, family and friends that you may need to contact in an emergency
- A laminated personal communication board, if you might need assistance with being understood
- If possible, extra medicine, oxygen, insulin, catheters, or other medical supplies you use regularly
- If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a light weight manual chair available for emergencies. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.
- Even if you do not use a computer yourself, consider putting important information onto a portable thumb drive for easy transport in an evacuation.
Finances:#444444; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">
- If you receive federal disability benefits, register your bank account information in advance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury online atwww.GoDirect.org so you can continue to access your money during an emergency.
- Arrange electronic payments for your federal benefits. Keep in mind a disaster can disrupt mail service for days or even weeks. For those who depend on the mail for their Social Security benefits, a difficult situation can become worse if you are evacuated or lose your mail service – as 85,000 check recipients learned after Hurricane Katrina. Switching to electronic payments is one simple, significant way people can protect themselves financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks.
- The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper checks for people who don’t have a bank account. Sign up is easy, call toll-free at (877) 212-9991 (phone), (866) 569-0447(TTY) or sign up online at www.USDirectExpress.com. Signing up for direct deposit or the Direct Express card is a simple but important step that can help protect your family’s access to funds in case the unthinkable were to happen. If you or those close to you are still receiving Social Security or other federal benefits by check, please consider switching to one of these safer, easier options today.
- Keep in mind a disaster can disrupt mail service for days or even weeks. Consider direct deposit by calling the Go Direct toll-free helpline at (800) 333-1795 (trying to get TTY) or sign up at www.GoDirect.gov. Sponsored by U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks, this option will ensure you get your social security or SSI payment on time each month.
Get Active In Your Community To Support Emergency Preparedness:#444444; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">
- Attend or volunteer with local emergency response groups, like FEMA CERT teams and Citizen Corps groups. Assist local emergency officials in learning how to integrate access and functional needs into preparedness and response activities and trainings.
- Sign up for FEMA RSS Feeds (http://www.fema.gov/help/rss.shtm) or emergency emails and text messages from your local government alert system to get important information on your cell phone or pager, in case you are not able to easily hear or access emergency notifications when they occur.
- Work with local shelter planners and emergency managers to plan ahead for accessible general population sheltering in a disaster. Medical shelters are for people with acute health care needs. Most people are best served in the general population shelters along with family, friends, and neighbors so it is important to preplan now to meet all access and functional needs requirements in a general shelter.
#008000;">Pets (don’t forget these family members!)
f you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.
If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.
Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
Preparing for Your Pets Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.
Access the Community Pet Preparedness Toolkit.
#ff0000;">MAKE A PLAN!!
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.
Family Emergency Plan
- Identify an out-of town contact. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
- Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
- Teach family members how to use text messaging (also knows as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
- Subscribe to alert services. Many communities now have systems that will send instant text alerts or e-mails to let you know about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc. Sign up by visiting your local Office of Emergency Management web site.
Planning To Stay Or Go
Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information, including what you are learning here, to determine if there is an immediate danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for information or official instruction as it becomes available. Further information on staying put or sheltering in place.
Find out what kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur in your area and how you will be notified. Methods of getting your attention vary from community to community. One common method is to broadcast viaemergency radio and TV broadcasts. You might hear a special siren, or get a telephone call, or emergency workers may go door-to-door.
Use the New Online Family Emergency Planning Tool created by the Ready Campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council to prepare a printable Comprehensive Family Emergency Plan.
Use the Quick Share application to help your family in assembling a quick reference list of contact information for your family, and a meeting place for emergency situations.
You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance. Read more: School and Workplace.