— BY KATHY SMITH
Disasters of all types can happen at any moment. September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, and it is important families and individuals be prepared.
Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, family and individuals should know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a tornado. They should be ready to evacuate their homes and take refuge in public shelters and know how to care for their basic medical needs.
It helps to be prepared by having the following items available if a disaster occurs. This list has been adapted from the EDEN (Extension Disaster Education Network, www.texashelp.tamu.edu) and the UMCOR relief supply needs list found at www.umcor.org. These items need to be in easy-to-carry containers such as trashcans, camping back packs or a storage box. Review your stock regularly and replace food and supplies often to keep them up to date.
• Water: Have at least a three-day supply of water. Pack 1 gallon for each person in the household per day. Do not use well water until your water has been tested.
• Food: Have a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Choose foods without a lot of salt. Include canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not need refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparations. Be sure to have a can opener.
• Flashlight and extra batteries.
• Matches and a waterproof container.
• First aid kit: Include two pairs of sterile gloves, gauze, soap, antibiotics wipes and ointment, burn ointment, adhesive bandages, aspirin, a thermometer, first aid booklet and SPF 30 sunscreen.
• Prescription medications: Include heart and high blood pressure medicine, insulin and other drugs prescribed by your doctor.
• Hand sanitizer: Any type of alcohol-based hand sanitizer will work.
• Basic tool kit: Include a screwdriver, hacksaw, axe, wrench, hammer and pliers.
• Personal hygiene items: Include a washcloth, bath towel, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.
• Sturdy shoes and extra clothes: To avoid injury from debris, use closed-toe shoes.
• Insect repellent: Any brand will work.
• Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
• Cash and coins.
• Cleaning supplies: 5-gallon bucket with lid, 82-ounce bleach, scouring pads, sponges, scrub brush, cleaning towels, liquid laundry detergent, household cleaner, disinfectant dish soap, clothes pins, 100 feet of clothesline, five masks with an N-95 rating; two pairs of latex gloves; one pair of working gloves; roll of large heavy-duty trash bags, and air freshener.