Editorial: Make an emergency kit before it’s needed

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Winter storms this month have spared Salisbury and Rowan County from prolonged power outages, but they should serve as a reminder about the importance of an emergency preparedness kit.

As part of the first storm on Jan. 15 and 16, projections for up to a half-inch of freezing rain threatened prolonged power outages and treacherous road conditions. Only the latter materialized here. More widespread outages occurred elsewhere.

On Saturday, a storm brought more snow than expected and also caused dangerous road conditions, but things were fine for those who stayed home.

Despite recent events, it’s a good idea to check emergency supplies and create a kit in case of prolonged power outages, weather-related problems or a natural disaster.

Creating a high-quality kit can ensure severe weather is only an inconvenience rather than a life-threatening event. In case of a natural disaster, a kit could prevent a situation from becoming deadly.

Natural disasters and severe weather can come with little warning, if there’s any advance notice at all, which is why it’s important to create a plan now. Ready.gov, a national public service campaign, says basic disaster supplies include the following:

• One gallon of water per person per day for several days.

• A three-day supply of non-perishable food.

• Battery-powered or hand crank radio.

• a flashlight.

• first aid kit.

• extra batteries.

• face mask.

• plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place.

• moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

  a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

• a manual can opener.

• hard copies of local maps.

• a cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.

Not all of those will be needed during every severe weather event, emergency or disaster, but they form a solid base to build on. A generator will be useful for most people in the event of a power outage. Because we rely on many electronic devices for daily life, portable chargers or battery banks are particularly essential.

Also consider nonprescription medications such as Tylenol; cash or traveler’s checks; important family documents; matches; as well as cups, plates, towels and utensils.

Imagine what you’d do for several days at a time without electricity. You may need books, puzzles, games and other things to occupy your time.

A full list of essential and recommended items is available at ready.gov. Don’t wait to get prepared.