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Peace of Mind

By Cindy Morrow
(Page 1 of 2)

“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 hurt her.

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 schools.

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
emergency kit.

Make copies of important documents for your emergency kit. Keep these in a
waterproof container.

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 foods.

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 sanitation

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Can opener, if using canned food

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