LEXINGTON, Ky. -- As any scout can tell you, "Be Prepared" is an excellent motto. With the storms and flooding of early May still fresh in people's minds, now is a good time for you and your family to prepare for the next disaster-whatever it may be.
There are three important steps to personal preparedness:
- Get a kit.
- Make a plan.
- Be informed.
You and your family should be prepared to survive on your own for at least three days after an emergency. This means having enough food, water, and other supplies. Remember, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may not be available for days, a week or longer.
At a minimum, your kit should include:
- 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, plastic sheeting and duct tape to create a 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, inverter or solar charger.
You should supplement your kit with materials specific to your family needs. This could include prescription medications, food and supplies for infants or pets, and games or toys for children. Chlorine bleach (when diluted nine parts water to one part bleach) is good for disinfecting and can treat water (16 drops per gallon of water).
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance. Decide how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.
- 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 contact 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 known as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages often can get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
For step-by-step guidance on creating a printable Comprehensive Family Emergency Plan go to: ready.adcouncil.org/beprepared/fep/index.jsp
Making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that wil...