Living in Idaho, it’s easy to think that we don’t have to worry as much about disasters like the hurricanes that have hit the Gulf Coast and East Coast this season. But wildfires, flooding and even earthquakes are real possibilities here, and with September being National Preparedness Month, it’s a great time to think about putting together a go-kit, making a family emergency plan and making sure you’re informed when disaster strikes our state.
What might a disaster plan include?
Disasters don’t plan ahead – but you can! Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so create plan how you will contact each other and where you will meet if disaster strikes. FEMA has a great template for a family emergency communication plan that you can find on our DHW blog. Also, you can find help with planning for emergency shelter, an agreed-upon evacuation route and understanding emergency alerts and warnings. Once you have your plan created, practice with your family to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
What about food and water?
Ideally, you should have two weeks’ worth of food and water on-hand. 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, spare cell phone battery or solar-powered charger, a battery-powered or crank radio, and any prescription medications you or your loved ones need. It’s also important to consider things your family might need that others wouldn’t, such as diapers and formula if you have infants, or pet food and proof of vaccinations for your dog or cat. Customize 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?
It’s a good idea to get training in first aid and emergency response. If you’re interested in volunteering to support local first responders, Volunteer Idaho is a great resource! More information can be found at www.volunteeridaho.org It’s also a good idea to talk to your neighbors about their emergency response plans, especially if they might need your help.
And for even more ideas on planning now for future emergencies, you can visit the Department of Health and Welfare’s site at www.readyidaho.org. Remember, we can all take steps now at home, work, business, school and places of worship to prepare to help ourselves and others if disaster strikes.
A Closer Look at Your Health airs weekly on KBOI Newsradio 670 AM in Boise; this is a transcript of the Sept. 12, 2017 program.