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Peace of Mind
“The best preparation for the future
is the present well seen to.” - George McDonald
Since 9/11, Rita Ready had a plan for her family in case
of a terrorist attack: everyone was to head to Aunt
Alma’s in the country and call Momma in Mississippi as
soon as they were safe. Good for Rita; she’s more
prepared than most of us. But while the average American
has a one in ten million chance of being killed by a
terrorist, we have a one in 68,000 chance of dying at
the hands of Mother Nature. What Rita doesn’t know could
September is National Preparedness Month, a nationwide
effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security to encourage Americans to take simple steps to
prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and
The most time-consuming and important activity is
formulating a plan and gathering information.
Make a Plan
Each person’s needs are unique, but we all should begin
with the basics when preparing for a possible emergency
situation. Think in order of importance: fresh water,
food and warmth. Consider the following:
What resources do I (or those I care for) use daily, and
what can we do if they aren’t available?
Get an emergency supply kit
Plan in advance for shelter alternatives outside your
immediate area in case you need to evacuate. Consider
any pets, and make plans for them.
Be sure to have at least a week’s supply of any
medications or treatments in your
Make copies of important documents for your emergency
kit. Keep these in a
The Emergency Kit
So you’ve got a plan; now for the kit. Most of the
preparation for your family emergency kit can be done,
thank goodness, while you go about your regular day.
Adding basic items like bottled water, flashlights and
batteries to your shopping list requires few brain
cells. It helps to have a designated collection site
where you can dump stuff as you collect it—one of those
flat, under-the-bed plastic storage boxes works great.
First the basics:
Water: you’ll need one gallon per person, per day.
Enough for three days. Use pre-bottled or put clean
plastic soda bottles to good use.
Food: have a three-day supply of non-perishable food
that doesn’t require cooking or water. Avoid salty
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Dust mask, to filter contaminated air
Moist towelettes and garbage bags for personal
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Can opener, if using canned food