By Troy Carney
Emergency responders work on behalf of the entire community by addressing the most critical needs first. Ensuring your family’s well-being during times of crisis may be up to you, and emergency kits are a critical tool for meeting that challenge.
To prepare your family for an emergency, get one or more emergency kits that include enough supplies to meet essential needs for at least three days. Kits should include water, food, first-aid supplies, medicines and important documents.
Collect items specific to each member of your family and consider special needs and pet supplies. A good idea is to think reusable, multi-use and long lasting. For example, a brightly colored poncho can be used as water-repellent clothing, a location marker and two together can create a temporary shelter.
Emergency kits are useful for sheltering-in-place, evacuating or moving to a shelter or designated safe haven. Keep a kit prepared at home and consider having kits in cars and at work. These will enable you and your family to respond to an emergency more quickly. Make your basic home emergency kit portable or create a second portable emergency kit with lightweight items to aid quick evacuation.
Necessary items for a basic emergency kit may include:
— At least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
— Nonperishable food for at least three days (select items that require no preparation, refrigeration or cooking such as ready-to-eat canned meat, vegetables or fruit).
— Infant formula and diapers for young children.
— Food, water, medication, leash, travel case and documents for any pets.
— Manual can opener.
— Hand-crank or battery-powered flashlight, radio and cell phone charger.
— Extra batteries.
— First aid kit, N95- or N100-rated dust masks.
— Prescriptions, medications and eye glasses or contacts.
— Sanitation supplies such as moist towelettes, disinfectant and garbage bags.
— Important documents including wills, medical and financial powers of attorney, property documents, medical instructions, insurance and military service records.
— Your family emergency plan and command reporting information.
— Emergency preparedness handbook and local maps.
Other items that could prove helpful include:
— A fire extinguisher.
— Any tools needed to turn off utilities.
— Matches or flint in a waterproof container.
— Reusable plates, cups, utensils, saucepan and paper towels.
— Brightly colored plastic ponchos.
— A weather-appropriate change of clothes for each person.
— Sleeping bags or other weather-appropriate bedding for each person.
— Paper and pencils.
— Books, games, puzzles, toys and other activities for children.
— Necessary items specific to each member of your family, addressing special needs and pets.
— Necessary items to a specific hazard common to your geographical location.
Checklists for emergency supply kits, as well as fact sheets about emergency planning for children, pets and other special needs are available at www.ready.army.mil.
Every member of your family should know where your emergency supply kits are located and be able to access them easily. Emergency kits should be evaluated regularly. Remember to update supplies periodically as water, food, first aid supplies, medicines and batteries will need to be refreshed.
Call the Fort Leonard Wood Emergency Management Office at 573.563.5606 for more information on establishing emergency kits.
(Editor’s note: Carney is the installation emergency manager.)