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A new normal for Dwayn Brooks after spinal injury

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Joe Poelker
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Release Date: 9/30/2013

Tips to prepare your family for disaster

Dr. Melissa Stein offers tips during National Preparedness Month

Consider this: It’s 7 p.m. on a stormy Wednesday evening. You’re at work, and your spouse is at home with the kids. They send a text that says the power is out, and the tornado sirens are sounding. You’re concerned, but reassured, because your family has a plan and a robust emergency disaster kit in a safe place.

If this is not a familiar story, it should be. Every one of us has a duty to gather appropriate supplies to make sure our families are safe when an unexpected event occurs. This is not something that should cost a lot of money, or take a lot of time, but it something that is very important, and should be reviewed every six months.

A basic kit should include the following:

  1. 1 gallon of water, per person/per day for each family member
  2. (That’s 8 bottles of water per person per day or 24 bottles per person for 3 days)
  3. Canned and dry foods, enough for 3 to 5 days per person
  4. (Buy foods you already eat, so you can easily rotate them before they expire and, in the event you need them, it’s not such a hardship to eat what you’ve stored)
  5. Baby food and pet food for 3 to 5 days, as needed for your family
  6. Utensils, can opener, plates & cups
  7. Blankets or sleeping bags & pillows
  8. Comfortable sturdy shoes and changes of clothes for each family member
  9. Battery operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  10. First aid supplies, common over-the-counter medication, and prescription medication that each family member takes
  11. Personal hygiene products, including soap, baby wipes (for cleansing if the water is shut off) toothbrush, tooth paste, toilet paper and a bucket with a lid
  12. Extra cash and a list of bank and credit card account numbers
  13. Whistle and flares
  14. Tarp, plastic sheeting, duct tape, and liquid bleach
  15. Crow bar, hammer, drill and other tools as available

There is no need to go and purchase most of these supplies (except for the food & water). Mostly of these items can be found around the house, and it is simply a matter of gathering them to a collective, safe place, so that everyone in your family knows where they are. The basement or an interior room is best to store them so, in an emergency when you go for them, you are already in a good shelter area. As tennis shoes, clothes, coats, and pillows wear out or go out of style, place them in a plastic trash bag for each family member. Purchase dry and canned foods as they go on sale, keep them together in a plastic container and then rotate them through your regular kitchen supplies every six months before they expire. Start small, but do get started. Discuss a plan with your family and make your own home emergency disaster kit.

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