As National Preparedness Month comes to a close, now is the perfect time to build or update your emergency kit. Having an emergency kit on hand with at least three days of supplies will ensure that your family can meet its essential needs in a crisis.
Take it from Petty Officer 3rd Class Jared Grothues, stationed at Industrial Production Facility New Orleans, Louisiana, “Last year when Isaac hit, we weren’t evacuated. It was too small of a hurricane. We were without power for about six days, and with the exception of a couple of stores, everything was shut down. Gas was almost nonexistent afterwards. It was basically like camping out of our house – cooking everything on a grill, relying on bottled water, canned food, and candles. The heat was the main thing [that was] hard on everyone. If we had had gas and a generator, we could have run fans.”
According to FEMA, extreme heat is of particular concern in the wake of a disaster. In Grothue’s case, Coast Guard MWR helped out by supplying ice, but in an emergency incident, we are our own first line of defense. Build a kit before an emergency so you have supplies to help you get through.
Some basic items to include are:
• One gallon of water per person per day for three days;
• Non-perishable food and a manual can opener;
• Sanitation supplies and a first aid kit with dust masks, disinfectant, and prescription medications;
• At least $100 cash in small bills in case ATM machines are down;
• Important personal, financial and insurance papers in a waterproof storage container;
• Flashlights with extra batteries, a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA weather radio and cell phone charger;
• Maps and a copy of your emergency plan;
• Special items required by family members with medical conditions, infants and pets.
Make sure every member of your family knows where to find your kit and ensure it is portable enough to take with you should you need to evacuate.
If you already have an emergency kit at home, now’s the right time to enhance your preparedness. Evaluate the contents of your kit ensuring any medications, food or water have not expired and, if so, be sure to replace them. Also consider making smaller emergency kits for your vehicle and workplace with food, water, first aid supplies and a copy of your family’s emergency plan.
As part of the Ready Coast Guard campaign, Office of Work-Life has additional information and a printer-friendly kit checklist on our website. Work-Life Programs also can assist you in addressing issues that develop before, during, and after an emergency. To locate the Work-Life Office nearest to you, simply call 1-800-872-4957 or visit the U.S. Coast Guard Work-Life website.