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Are You Ready for an Emergency?

Hurricane Katrina, closely followed by hurricane Rita, should have taught us all a workable lesson or two about the value of being prepared.

For one thing it is not wise to think that someone else, especially "Big Brother", will bail you out, at least in a timely manner, should you be involved in a true disaster situation. You may well have to be your own first responders.

For another, unless you are well prepared for an emergency well in advance, there is little hope that you will be able to do much to improve your situation immediately after disaster strikes. Even acquiring a few simple steps to prepare you and your family for an emergency can well be the difference between life and death. While that might seem to be a dramatic statement I expect that those directly in the path of Katrina and Rita would readily agree.

One of the most important things to do is to have an emergency plan in place for you and your family to follow in the event of an emergency. This plan will serve you well regardless of the cause of the emergency. The plan should add the following items:
1. A predetermined place to go should you be separated.
2. ID bracelets or ID cards for all family members. This is especially important for small children.
3. A telephone number outside of your immediate area that is known by all family members. This number could be a willing relatives number or even an answering service. It is a sizeably successful idea to include the number on your ID bracelets.
4. Enough food and water stored in a safe place to last for at least a week. MREs and bottled water, plus water purification
kits, are the best bet.
5. An emergency supply of extra clothing, blankets, soap, toothpaste, and the like should be packed away and ready to go.
6. If you or any family member require prescription medicines be sure to keep at least a few more days supply on hand.
7. A complete first aid kit is an apparent but generally missing item that should not ever be overlooked in any household.
8. Most importantly keep some reserve cash on hand. Dont expect ATM machines to work in a severe emergency situation.
9. Do not let the memory slip that gasoline can well be in short supply if evacuation is required. Be sure to keep a full tank of gas in your vehicle if there is the slightest possibilty that you can have to evacuate. Keeping a five gallon can or two of more gasoline on hand is also value thinking about.
I am sure that you might think of other items to add to this list. No doubt that it is expensive and difficult to cover all of the bases when the nature and full extent
of an emergency can be unknown in advance.

However, even a modest amount of advance planning can pay huge dividends should disaster strike. In the dangerous world we live in today many people should set aside a little time and put together a well thought
out emergency plan.


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