Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has declared September as Preparedness Month in Michigan, and to support this effort, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is joining agencies and organizations nationwide to encourage households, businesses and communities to develop emergency preparedness plans.
National Preparedness Month seeks to raise awareness of the need for all households to be self-reliant for at least three days, including having a dedicated supply of food, water and medications.
During a disaster, critical services may be impacted - such as electricity, water service, access to grocery stores - and response times for police, fire and rescue personnel could be significantly delayed.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests:
Make a Plan
Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.
You should also inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school, faith organizations, sports events and commuting.
If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to community leaders, your colleagues, neighbors and members of faith or civic organizations about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance. Read more about school and workplace plans.
Have a plan for traveling between work and home, and other commonly visited locations, in case of an emergency.
Build a Kit
A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment's notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately.
You could get help in hours or it might take days.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First aid kit.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
- Manual can opener for food.
- Local maps.
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, you may want to consider adding the following items:
- Prescription medications and glasses.
- Infant formula and diapers.
- Pet food and extra water for your pet.
- Cash or traveler's checks and change.
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding since we live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing since we live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper - when diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils.
- Paper and pencil.
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.