SEATTLE, Wash. -- Every year millions of American lives are disrupted by disasters ranging from floods, fire and winter storms to tornadoes and earthquakes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials remind holiday shoppers that many Americans simply do not have the basic preparedness items they need. While not your traditional gifts, emergency and preparedness items make a huge difference in times of need, and demonstrate how much you care. The trick is to convert good intentions into action, and according to FEMA Regional Director John Pennington, the Holiday Season is a great time to start.
"While FEMA is not in the retail business, we are in the business of helping people prepare for disasters and reduce their risk of being adversely effected by disasters,” said Pennington. “Gifts that reduce vulnerabilities do more than show how much you care. They can save lives."
Emergency and preparedness items that might make great gifts this Holiday Season include:
- NOAA Weather Radios and extra batteries.
- Smoke detectors and extra batteries.
- Appropriate fire extinguishers (kitchen, garage, car).
- Disaster kits for homes, offices and autos (first aid kits, food, water and prescription medications for 72 hours, extra clothing, blankets, flashlights).
- Foldable ladders for second-story escape in a fire.
- Car kits (emergency flares, shovels, ice scrapers, flashlights and fluorescent distress flags).
- Pet Disaster Kits (food, water, leashes, dishes and carrying case or crate).
- A camp stove with extra fuel.
- A year-long Flood Insurance Policy, available from your insurance agency and backed by FEMA.
- The gift of a gardener to cut back combustible and vegetation from a wildfire-vulnerable home.
- A sturdy plastic tub filled with bottled water and non-perishable food and canned goods.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.