Be prepared: Pack a kit
Rowan County is blessed with hundreds of emergency responders, maybe even thousands — law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics, HAZMAT specialists, hospital emergency department personnel, public health experts, the list could go on and on.
But are you ready to respond to an emergency in your home and business? Are your elderly parents prepared? Have you thought about your pets?
Today winds up Emergency Preparedness Month, an annual observance promoted by Homeland Security, FEMA, the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies. The goal is to be as prepared as possible for disasters, storms, epidemics and other crises.
The CDC has had fun with the topic in recent years, jumping on the “Walking Dead” bandwagon by urging people to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. (Check out this Friday night’s Zombie Walk downtown, to get an idea of what that might look like.)
Whether you anticipate zombies, a hurricane or an ice storm, prep step No. 1 is packing an emergency supply kit. Include items like these, say FEMA and the CDC:
• Water (1 gallon per person per day for at least three days)
• Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
• Can opener, if kit contains canned food
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio, a weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air; plastic sheeting and duct tape to “shelter-in-place”
• Medications (prescription and non-prescription)
• Tools and supplies (utility knife, wrench or pliers, matches, etc.)
• Sanitation and hygiene items (household bleach, soap, towels, moist towelettes, garbage bags, etc.)
• Clothing and bedding (a change of clothes for each family member, and blankets)
• Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport and birth certificate to name a few)
• First aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)
Those are the basics. If you want to go further, a small generator would come in handy if there’s an extended power outage — a definite possibility, with winter weather approaching. Have a baby in the house? Remember diapers and formula. If you have pets, they’ll need food and water, too.
More lists and other resources are available at www.ready.gov. Even better, go to the local site, www.readyrowan.org, where you can sign up for local emergency notification alerts. And consider joining the Community Emergency Response Team made up of volunteers trained and eager to help neighbors if an emergency arises. The more of us who have formal training in preparedness, the better.