When disaster hits, it may be too late to collect necessary items for survival. Things such as battery-powered radios, first aid supplies and a two-week supply of water may not be accessible on short notice.
Charlie Bryan, Community Health Planner with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Services, said this is why September has been designated National Preparedness Month — to remind people to plan ahead for the worst.
“By providing one month a year that we’re deliberately focusing on preparedness, it forces the community to be reminded,” Bryan said.
Gov. Sam Brownback signed a proclamation last month also designating September as Kansas Preparedness Month.
On Saturday, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Services held an eight-hour citizen preparedness class that provided emergency planning tips and information on the different types of natural disasters.
“We cover tornadoes and also tsunamis,” Bryan said. “Who knows where you might travel or where your family might go? Each disaster has its own set of requirements.”
When creating an emergency plan, Bryan suggested putting it into writing to avoid confusion among family members. He said to also make sure your family has several rendezvous points and that the plan is reviewed every six months.
In addition to emergency planning, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Services also offered a comprehensive list of items that should be included in an emergency supplies kit.
Bryan recommended the following items as a starting point: nonperishable food, water, clothing, medication (at least three days worth), flashlight, manual can opener, battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, hygiene items (toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, soap) and first aid supplies.
According to KSReady.gov, which provides information on planning and preparedness for natural and man-made hazards in Kansas, it also is important to make a list of important contact information and keep it with you at all times.
The American Red Cross says to have at least one member in a household be trained in first aid and CPR. It adds to the basic preparedness kit the following: multipurpose tool, copies of personal documents, cell phone with chargers, extra cash, emergency blanket, maps of the area, extra sets of car and house keys, whistle, surgical masks, matches, rain gear, work gloves, duct tape, scissors, household liquid bleach and sleeping bags.
Ready.gov, a site run by FEMA, offers its own list of supplies. In addition to the tips already mentioned, it says to avoid foods that will make you thirsty and to choose salt-free crackers, whole-grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
Each of these organizations suggests keeping a three-day food supply and one gallon of water per person per day.