BUCKHANNON — National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will be covered through a series of weekly topics by The Record Delta during the month of September. These topics will elaborate on how to get prepared for emergencies in homes, businesses, schools and communities. This week’s topic is “Build a Kit.”
After experiencing an emergency, individuals may be on their own for several days—hence where a well-stocked kit comes into play. If left on their own for several days, food, water and other supplies may be necessary for survival. Some families may require items outside of the “basics,” such as for pets, seniors, or other unique needs.
As it is uncertain when and where an individual may be when an emergency strikes, the FDA and FEMA recommend having a kit in your home and place of work, as well as the car. The kit at home should have a designated place, known to all family members, to ensure a quick exit if necessary. If an individual must shelter at work, the FDA recommends including food, water, and other necessities to withstand at least 24 hours.
FEMA’s recommended basic items to include in an emergency supply kit are water and non-perishable food for several days, an extra cell phone battery or charger, a battery-powered or hand crank radio that can receive NOAA Weather Radio tone alerts with extra batteries, flashlights with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a whistle to signal for help, a dust mask to help filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place, moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties (for personal sanitation), a non-sparking wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, manual can opener (if kit contains canned food), and local maps.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has recommended some additional items individuals may need to consider when building their emergency kit to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as prescription medications, corrective lenses, infant formula and diapers, pet food and supplies for the pet, cash and change, sleeping bag or warm blankets depending on the climate, change of clothes, feminine supplies, paper cups and plates, masks (for anyone age 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes.
Part of building a kit is maintaining it and finding an appropriate storage location, so it is ready and available when needed. If canned food is included in the kit, it should be kept in a cool, dry place. Boxed food should be kept in a tightly closed plastic or metal container and expired items need replaced as needed. Needs may change from year to year, which must be considered on an annual basis and updated accordingly as needs change.
Check the FDA’s website for a variety of preparedness information for consumers regarding topics such as hurricanes, severe storms, and COVID-19.