September is National Preparedness Month — Are You Ready?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


September is National Preparedness Month, an annual nationwide effort to encourage Americans to plan and prepare for emergencies.
Recent destructive storms remind us we need to be ready for all types of emergencies.
We are at the height of Hurricane season and nearly everyone in Virginia recently experienced historic severe windstorms and extended power outages. Were you ready? Did you have an emergency supply kit ready?

Every family needs to have emergency supplies on hand for these types of often unpredictable and sometimes unexpected situations. Start building your emergency kit with these essential items:
 Three days’ of food that won’t spoil, such as canned goods and packaged foods
 Three days’ of water, one gallon per person per day
 A hand crank and/or battery-powered radio with extra batteries
 A written family emergency plan

Once you gather these basics, put them in waterproof containers that you can carry or roll in case you need to leave your home quickly.  Old suitcases or backpacks also work well and can hold supplies.

Other useful items you may want to include in your emergency supply kit are: 

• Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, reusable ice 
• Batteries, excluding car or boat batteries
• Battery-powered light sources, including flashlights and lanterns
• First aid kits
• Cell phone chargers
• Weather Band radios and NOAA Weather Radios
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radios, including radio with electrical power option
• Bottled water of any size, including flavored, carbonated and vitamin water
• Two-way radios
• Manual can openers
• Tarps, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths
• Bungee cords and rope
• Ground anchor systems or tie down kits
• Ratchet straps
• Duct tape
• Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, fire extinguishers
• Empty gas, propane or diesel fuel tanks or containers
• Water storage containers such as buckets, barrels, canteens, coolers
• Storm shutter devices made for the prevention of storm damage (not plywood)
• Portable generators and generator power cords
• Inverters and inverter power cables. 

Think that’s too much to do?  At least get started with the essential items, and then add to your kit.  For more information on emergency planning, visit For a fill-in or downloadable family emergency plan worksheet, go to and click on Make a Plan.

Emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility.  Everyone should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least the first 72 hours of an event, and everyone should have a family emergency plan.  Remember these three important steps:  Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Stay Informed.

Visit and to find out more about how to prepare for hurricane season.


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