New Castle News

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May 16, 2013

Lori Brothers: Be ready to stay healthy during storms

NEW CASTLE — At any time during the spring and summer, we may get a signal from our local officials that there is inclement weather that can turn threatening.

It is always important to pay attention during alerts to assure that your family, including your pets, are safe in the event of an emergency such as tornado, flood or power outage.

Because disasters can happen at any time anywhere, it is wise to create an emergency kit with supplies you might need during a real disaster.

I tend to look for sales at the grocery store. If tuna, peanut butter, canned beans are on sale I will pick up extra to keep in the cupboard. Without going overboard, I like to keep my cupboards stocked with a little extra.

The official guidelines state you should have at least a three-day supply of ready-to-eat food, canned juices, comfort/stress foods, and one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation.

We tend to stock up and hunker down into hibernation mode during a winter weather advisory. We brace ourselves to be inside for a day or two until we can dig ourselves out. In the same way, if there were a major power outage, or weather event during spring and summer months, having supplies could make a difference in your quality of life.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has put out a preparedness bulletin. The advice, especially if you have young children, is to educate your family and create an emergency supplies kit. The research shows that these actions help children feel more secure in case of an emergency.

There is a full list of suggested emergency supplies at www.nfpa.org/disaster. Below is an abbreviated list to consider besides the suggested food and water:

•Battery powered or hand-cranked radio

•Flashlights with extra batteries

•First aid kit

•Can opener

•Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

•Paper towels

•Nonprescription drugs such as pain reliever and prescription meds, including contact lenses and denture supplies

Please note that you should replace food every six months,and rethink your kit and family needs once per year. Remember to update clothes and replace batteries, etc.

Give children the opportunity to create their own personal backpack.  llow them to include a favorite book or stuffed animal which may help comfort them during an emergency. Also include a change of clothes, blanket, paper, pencils and crayons.

Other resources for advice include visiting ready.gov or calling 1 (800) BE-READY.

Once you have emergency kits and backpacks ready, make a plan for what you will do during an emergency. Make sure you discuss a plan for when you are all together, and an alternate plan for when your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Also, check with schools and daycare centers to be sure that they have a plan in place.

The American Red Cross suggests creating a plan where each family member calls, or emails, the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency.  It may be wise to choose an out-of-town contact since they may be in a better position to communicate. Make sure each family member knows the phone number to call, text or email.

If you have pets, prepare a kit that has pet food, bottled water and medications. Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site, should you have to leave. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes. Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.

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