The Norman Transcript

September 15, 2013

Be prepared before bad weather arrives

By Brenda Hill, OSU Cooperative Extension
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — An emergency situation or disaster can strike any time, anywhere. For this reason, in recognition of September as National Preparedness Month, it is a good idea to have a disaster preparedness kit ready in several locations.

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Preparedness Month began in 2004 as a way to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools and communities.

You should think about placing a kit in your home for sheltering in place. You never know where you will be when an emergency occurs, so it is a good idea to be prepared.

If you have already prepared your kit, remember to replace the items every six months, say Jan. 1 and July 1. Most likely the old supplies are perfectly fine. Do not waste them. Be sure to use the supplies that have been removed from your kit.

A basic kit for your home should contain: One gallon of water per person for three days, a three-day supply of nonperishable food, a battery-powered radio, a whistle to signal for help, a small first aid kit, a wrench or pliers in the event you need to turn off utilities and a manual can opener.

Think about the needs of the people in your family. For example, if you have a baby in the house, be sure to include diapers and formula.

Your home kit should contain enough supplies to last three days. Be sure every family member knows where the kit is stored and have it ready in case you have to leave home quickly.

Store the items in a plastic bag or container that is easy to grab if you are in a hurry. Your food items in any of the emergency kits you prepare should contain protein such as peanuts, peanut butter or energy bars.

Be sure to include your pets when putting together materials for your preparedness kits. Food, water, bowls and a leash are a must.

An emergency kit for your car will require a few more supplies. Again, in addition to food and water, the kit should contain jumper cables, flashlights with extra batteries, a small first aid kit, medication, cat litter or sand for better tire traction, a shovel, an ice scraper, warm clothes and blankets or sleeping bags.

You may want to include flares or a reflective triangle and a cell phone charger that plugs into your cigarette lighter. Keep your gas tank full, and if you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, put on the flashers, call for help and wait until help arrives.