In an effort to get the best information to our readers about this preparedness topic, we spoke with Robert Foresman, an area expert on the subject. He is the Coordinator for Emergency Management inRockbridgeCounty. Our conversation with him proved very interesting and he made the point that it is really a citizen’s duty to be prepared. Emergency services, already stretched thin in an emergency, should be concentrating on those in real need. Below are some of the points he considers very important:
- Always have a minimum of a 72 Hour Kit for everyone in the home. He recommends one in your car, too. Basically, in a small pack or bag, have enough water, nonperishable food, medicines, sanitary items, first aid kit, and poncho/blanket…enough for each and every person.
- If you have to evacuate, it is good to have some non-electric items and ways to entertain children.
- Consider your pets! Have food, medicine, collar, leash, pet carrier, and a photo ID of you with your pet.
- On your cell phone, have your ICE (In Case of Emergency contacts) numbers, in case you are unable to talk.
- Gas tank on all cars should always be at least 1/2 full. Power outages mean gas pumps won’t work. And always keep cars in maintained condition. Keep jumper cables, blankets, nutrition, and water in cars.
- Always keep cash available. If power is out, ATM machines will not operate, and stores that are open will not have credit card capability.
- Keep plenty of food for everyone in your home. Canned and dry goods will keep a long time. Twice a year you can rotate it out for use or give it to the food pantry. Do this on the same schedule as changing smoke detector batteries twice per year.
Know multiple routes to town or to major roads from your home: we are creatures of habit. Your normal route may be blocked by tree’s, power lines, or high water.