SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — September is National Preparedness Month, and Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences professor Kathleen Riggs said now is a great time to evaluate your preparedness supplies and plans.
She said that this year’s theme, “Take Control in 1, 2, 3,” empowers everyone, especially adults to (1) assess their needs, (2) make a plan, and (3) engage in their support network to stay safe when disaster strikes.
“Ready,” a national public service advertising campaign, works to educate and empower people to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters.
As part of National Preparedness Month, Ready recommends having supplies to last you for several days in case of emergency.
Recommendations for the kit include:
- Water — at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
- Food — at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kits
- Extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air as well as plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal windows and doors if sheltering in place becomes necessary
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities such as natural gas
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
- Prescription medication
Riggs said to also consider including pet supplies, changes of clothing, and sleeping bags.
It is important to note that assembling a kit is not a one-and-done task, she said — it requires regular maintenance. Riggs said to consider placing a recurring reminder in your calendar to update and replenish the kit, as canned and packaged foods will expire, batteries will lose power, and you may think of things to add or adapt to better suit your current condition.
According to Ready, kits are best stored in these locations:
- Home — keep the kits in a designated place and have them ready in case you have to leave quickly. Make sure all family members know where they are kept. Consider including a list of pre-determined additional valuables that can be located and loaded in 5-15 minutes if there is time, space, and transportation available.
- Work — be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water, and other necessities like medications and comfortable walking shoes. These should be stored in a “grab and go” container in an easily accessible location.
- Vehicle — in case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your vehicle. It can be similar to your work kit, but you may also want to include some form of shelter and a source of warmth should you need to leave your car.
“They key to facing potential disasters is to be prepared and informed. Being proactive and preparing now will help reduce the fear of being hungry, cold, or injured in the future,” Riggs said.