Disaster kits

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are you prepared? It's a popular question these days in light of the recent 9.0 magnitude earthquake that caused horrific damage in Japan. While some disasters such as hurricanes or winter storms can be predicted, some -- like the recent earthquake -- come without warning. This is all the more reason to be prepared.

Jamie Koehler, the Southeast Missouri American Red Cross emergency services director, says a good disaster kit should include a few key items, such as nonperishable foods, water and other items to support a family for at least seven days. Having on hand a radio, flashlight, batteries, whistle, sturdy shoes and work gloves are all important.

In addition to having a home kit, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends individuals have a kit for work and their car. A work kit -- which should be easy to access and grab in an instant -- should contain food, water and comfortable walking shoes. A car disaster kit should also contain food and water but also first aid supplies, flares, jumper cables and seasonal supplies.

Warnings to put together a disaster kit are not cause for alarm, simply sound advice should a disaster occur. And with the spring storm season upon us, many of these items -- especially a good weather radio -- are important to have on hand.

While our hearts go out to the people in Japan, may we all use this opportunity to better prepare ourselves should a disaster strike.

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