Prepare for emergencies in 4 weeks

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 Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Krista Slanker (left), director of Madison County’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA), puts up a display for Preparedness Month at the London Kmart. Also on hand are: Dave Allen, London Kmart manager; Roger Roberts, Madison County/London City Health Department’s emergency preparedness coordinator; and Deborah Sims, EMA administrative assistant.

The old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The Madison County Emergency Man-agement Agency and the Madison County/London City Health District believe there’s no better place to put that saying into practice than at home.

“If a large-scale emergency happens, it’s going to take time for state and federal resources to get in to help,” said Krista Slanker, EMA director. “It’s the respon-sibility of every individual or family to take basic steps to become better prepared in their own homes.”

To promote that message, Slanker and Roger Roberts, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Health Department, have put together a preparedness aware-ness campaign for September.

The two-pronged plan includes the Madison County Safety Expo, a family-friendly event set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 15 in the London Kmart parking lot. First responders from around the county will be on hand to distribute safety information to children and adults.

The second part of the plan will guide individuals in putting together emergency supply kits. Fully stocked, the kits are designed to cover a family’s needs for 72 hours in the case of an emergency, whether it’s a natural or manmade disaster or, more simply, a snow storm.

“We’ve broken down the list of supplies, with the idea being that people can buy them over a four-week period. That way it doesn’t break the bank all at one time,” said Roberts.

Individuals can download supply lists at www.preparingmadisoncounty.org (click on the “Get Prepared in 4 Weeks” button) or find them in most grocery and hardware stores in the county.

By following the lists, individuals will not only end up with a practical supply kit, they also will have a safer home and a family plan for emergencies, Slanker said.

The list breakdown is as follows. An asterisk (*) means to stock one of these items per person:

Week One:

    • Grocery store list—2 gallons water*, 1 jar of peanut butter, 6-pack of 6-ounce juices, 2 cans meat/chicken/tuna*, 1 6-pack fruit*, 1 hand-operated can opener, 2 permanent markers, paper and pen, feminine hygiene supplies, pain reliever in child proof container

    • Hardware store list—Heavy cotton or hemp rope, duct tape, 2 flashlights with batteries and extra batteries, battery-powered radio and extra batteries

    • Additional items—Pet food, 1 gallon water for each pet, leash or pet carrier, diapers, baby food

    • Action steps—Test smoke alarms and replace batteries (at least once per year. Encourage neighbors to develop their own plans. Sign up for First Aid/CPR class. Check with your children’s day care center or school about disaster plans and contacts; make certain they have your emergency contact info.

Week Two:

    • Grocery store list—1 gallon water*, 1 jar of peanut butter, 6-pack of 6-ounce juices*, 1 can meat/chicken/tuna*, 1 box high-energy snacks, comfort foods (candy bars, cookies), quart-size resealable bags

    • Hardware store list—Compass, hammer, First Aid kit, sunscreen

    • Additional items—Medicines and prescriptions marked “for emergency use,” contact-lens supplies, special supplies and equipment such as hearing aid batteries

    • Action steps—Develop a family disaster plan including where to meet if separated and can’t return home. Identify storage area for your supplies. Date perishable items with a marker. Notify out-of-area contact to coordinate info for scattered family members. Pick up local map at Chamber of Commerce.

Week Three:

    • Grocery store list—2 cans ready-to-eat soup*, 2 six-packs fruit*, 2 cans vegetables*, 2 cans meat/chicken/tuna*, 1 box heavy-duty garbage bags with ties, sewing kit, disinfectant, antacid in child proof container

    • Hardware store list—Pre-cut plastic for window coverings (fold and place in resealable bag and  label for specific window), pliers, screwdriver (Phillips and standard)

    • Additional items—Extra baby supplies (bottles, formula, diapers) if needed. Put extra eyeglasses in First Aid Kit.

    • Action steps—Place a flashlight, whistle and work gloves in your disaster kit. Make sure everyone in the house knows where to find gas and water meter shut-off valves and knows how and when to turn them off. Practice fire evacuation.

Week Four:

    • Grocery store list—6-pack of 6-ounce juices, large plastic food bags, 1 box high-energy snacks, 3 rolls paper towels, toilet tissue, extra water

    • Hardware store list—Waterproof portable container for important papers, wrench to turn off utilities

    • Additional items—Keep extra battery for cell phone and change for pay phones in case cell phones don’t work. Make sure all pet vaccinations are current and obtain medical records from veterinarian for disaster records kit. Litter and box.

    • Action steps—Place important papers in safety deposit box. Keep copy of will in the disaster kit; keep original in safety deposit box. Photocopy important papers and store safely in sealed envelope with contents indicated on outside of envelope. Attach a wrench near each shut-off valve so it is there when needed.

It Can Happen Here

“I recently went to northern Ohio to help with flood victims. I was in Crawford County where there has been no major flooding since 1912,” Slanker said. “A disaster can happen to any community at any time. Just because it has not happened in Madison County, doesn’t mean it won’t.”

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. The Madison County Commissioners also have proclaimed the month as Madison County Preparedness Month, a unique move that puts the spotlight on local efforts, Slanker said.

In addition to the EMA Web site, other resources for preparedness information can be found at ready.gov and redcross.org.

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