Disaster kits created to handle county emergencies

Thursday, October 30, 2003

By making a donation now, Cape Girardeau County residents and businesses can help prevent a future disaster from depleting supplies of local emergency response agencies and possibly save lives.

That's why those agencies are asking for the public's help in funding 25 emergency medical supply kits. The kits will be placed across the county in preparation for the type of disaster when fast access to extra supplies is crucial.

Cape Girardeau County's Emergency Management Action Committee, or EMAC, is soliciting donations from businesses and individuals for the kits, said Charlotte Craig of the county public health department.

"We want people to buy into the idea," she said. "We're doing it for every resident in Cape County, and we'd like to bring them into the process of building it, because that's who it will ultimately benefit."

Each kit will contain enough supplies to care for the minor to moderate injuries of 60 people and will cost about $200 to stock. Perishable supplies, such as water and batteries, would be replaced annually. The subcommittee wants to store the trunks in various locations throughout the county, mostly at fire stations.

The EMAC's medical subcommittee met Wednesday at the Cape Girardeau Fire Department's Station No. 1 to view the first 13 still-empty trunks purchased with a $500 donation from Jackson's Wal-Mart.

Southeast Missouri Hospital has also committed to donating $500, which will be used to begin filling the trunks with supplies. The boxes will be dispersed as the money comes in, Craig said.

"It is money driven," she said. "We'd like to have done this years ago."

In 1991, Cape County Private Ambulance put together 15 smaller boxes of medical first aid supplies for each volunteer and city fire station in the county. The EMAC subcommittee decided in 2000 that additional, larger kits were needed to meet demands. At that time, they approached the foundation groups at St. Francis Medical Center and Southeast Missouri Hospital for donations of $5,000. But they were turned down because the foundations operate to raise money for the hospitals, not donate to other causes, Craig said.

Perry County's EMAC put together 12 such emergency supply kits about two years ago, said Denise Morrison of the Perry County Health Department. Their kits are small enough to be picked up by one person and transported in a car and have been put at fire stations, churches and businesses around the county. About $2,000 was raised to accomplish the project.

Craig said speakers are available to talk to Cape Girardeau County organizations or businesses interested in learning more about donating. Groups interested in hearing a presentation should call Cape Girardeau interim fire chief Mark Hasheider at 334-3211.

mwells@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

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