The power of preparedness in case of disaster

Wildfires, once again, have consumed our attention this summer in Idaho. But Idaho is also prone to other natural disasters, including floods and earthquakes. A flu pandemic, extreme temperatures, and accidents involving long-term power outages also are very real possibilities. Are you prepared if one of these disasters strikes?

How do you prepare for the unknown?

We can’t know for sure where or when a disaster will happen, but having emergency supplies, a disaster plan and making sure you are informed about the specific emergencies your area is most at risk for will help protect you and your family from the chaos of a disaster. Get a kit, make a plan and be informed. 

What might a disaster plan include?

The first step is sitting down with your family to discuss what you need to do to prepare. Talk about how you will contact each other and where you would meet if disaster strikes. Select a place close to home as well as one outside your neighborhood in case going home isn’t an option. Phone lines and cell towers could be affected, so don’t assume you will be able to call or even text each other. It’s a good idea to have someone outside the Treasure Valley who could be a central contact for your entire family. They might be easier to reach in a local emergency and can keep everyone up-to-date. Facebook and Twitter also are great tools for keeping family updated about your situation.

What kind of supplies should you stock?

You should plan to have about two weeks’ worth of food and water on hand, but at the minimum you should have enough to get you and your family through three days, or 72 hours. Plan for a gallon of water, per-person, per-day. The food in your kit shouldn’t need refrigeration or cooking because of the potential for power outages during emergencies. Your kit also should include first aid supplies, a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery-powered or crank radio, and any prescription medications you or your family might need. There are several lists you can download online, but you should add things your family might need that others wouldn’t, such as diapers and formula if you have an infant, or pet food and water and proof of vaccinations for your dog or cat. Build your kit so your family has what it needs during an emergency.

Is there anything else we should be thinking about now before an emergency happens?

If evacuation seems likely, get ready to go and load up your vehicle with emergency supplies, vital records, prescription medications and valuables and point it in the direction you would need to go quickly. Also, keep your pets close and ready to go. It’s also a good idea to talk to your neighbors about their emergency response plans, especially if they might need your help. If you’re interested in serving your community and volunteering in a disaster, when your neighbors need you most, you can sign up to volunteer in the Medical Reserve Corps at www.readyidaho.org. You’ll also find lots of other great resources there, including packing lists and other things to think about before disaster strikes.

(Note: A Closer Look At Your Health airs at 6:50 a.m. most Tuesdays. This is an edited transcript of the one from Sept. 20.)

Resources:

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