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Hurricane Season is here are you ready?

In An Emergency, Itís Ready, Set, Go

If thereís one lesson we can learn from each disaster we live through or watch on television, itís this: Make sure youíre always prepared to grab and go with very little notice. And, donít assume youíll get days or even hours notice. Get ready now.

Every household needs a Go Bag. This is a collection of items you may need if all services are cut off or you need to evacuate. It should be packed in an easy-to-carry container like a suitcase on wheels. Each family member also needs a Go Bag that contains enough basic supplies to last for 72 hours. Backpacks are great for individual Go Bags.

Each backpack should contain a change of clothing and a jacket or sweater; some food and an emergency lightweight blanket; copies of personal documents that are sealed in zip-type plastic bags such as photo I.D., emergency phone numbers, social security numbers, insurance cards and so on. When itís time to evacuate, each person grabs his or her backpack and a gallon of water and gets out. The family Go Bag should be compact enough to carry easily and fit in the trunk of the car, whose gas tank is never less than half full.

One reader sent this precise list of basics for the family Go Bag: Ax, shovel, bucket, utility knife, can opener, at least $50 in small bills and coins, extra pairs of eyeglasses, prepaid calling cards and medications. You will need basic non-perishable food items in the family box: Dried fruit or trail mix, soda and graham crackers, juice boxes, granola bars, beef jerky, cans of tuna, cans of pork and beans; dried milk and hot chocolate mix.

Youíll need a battery-powered AM radio, battery-powered light and fresh batteries. Make sure you have packed a basic first aid kit, paper and pencil and, if possible, a camp stove with fuel. Youíll want bug repellant, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, disinfectant, garbage bags, matches in sealed and waterproof bags, and candles.

Now, before you get discouraged because the task seems overwhelming, let me assure you there is no perfect kit. Anything you can put together now is better than having nothing. Take it one step at a time, thinking of it as a process to get prepared for an emergency.

What you have in your head is the most important survival/first aid equipment of all. Use your common sense. Rotate medications that have a shelf life, making sure the freshest are always in your Go Bag. Rotate food items and water at least once quarterly.

Give your Go Bags and water containers respectable homes on hooks or shelves close to an outside door. Make this a family project. Teach even your youngest children which backpack is theirs, why it is special and what to do when the time comes to grab it and go.

The more you can do now the more confident youíll be when the time comes to put your emergency preparedness into action.









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