Home checklist: Be prepared with an emergency kit

Published: Saturday, Sep. 28, 2013 - 12:00 am

Be prepared. That’s more than a Scout’s motto; it’s a national mantra for September, officially National Preparedness Month.

According to the National Safety Council, preparedness starts at home. It could be fire, flood, earthquake or some other disaster. But whatever the situation, your family will be a lot safer if you take a little time to plan ahead and be ready for the unexpected.

Where to start? The council offers these tips:

•  Build an emergency kit: Include the basics for survival such as fresh water, food and warmth. Have enough supplies to maintain your family’s comfort for at least three days without power. The council offers lists of suggested supplies online; click on www.ready.gov/document/family-supply-list.

•  Keep it fresh: Once you build your kit, make sure it will be ready when you need it. Store canned food in a cool, dry place. Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented or corroded. Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life. Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies.

• Rotate your kit: Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front. Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.

• Make sure your kit still fits your family: Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change. Do you still need a box of diapers in your kit? Do you have enough food and water?

• Make it portable: Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack or duffel bag.

For more tips, click on www.nsc.org.

– Debbie Arrington

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