Get ready now, before the next big event
By Laura Kebede
Emergencies are unexpected by definition. There may be a few hours of warning as with hurricanes or severe storms, but by then the grocery shelves are bare and it’s hard to predict how long the effects will last. Think of the power outages, up and down the East Coast this summer, that resulted in more than a dozen deaths.
That’s why the Richmond City Health District is participating in the ninth annual National Preparedness Month.
Throughout September, the Richmond City Health District will be educating the public, through brochures and presentations, about how to be self-reliant for three days during an emergency, whether weatherrelated or biochemical, because it may take as long for outside help to arrive.
The Richmond Office of Emergency Management has an online guide to ensure your family has the essentials.
Most of the items are inexpensive and the advice is simple, but officials say it can make the difference between life and death in an emergency.
The top tips:
1. Medication: Make sure you have enough medications stored to last three days. Ask your doctor about how to store insulin or other medications that need to be refrigerated.
2. Food: Store enough non-perishable food, for your household, to last three days. Rotate the food supply in your emergency kit every six months.
3. Infant formula: For infants, keep some powder formula on hand with two gallons of water to mix it with, but don’t mix the formula in advance.
4. Extreme weather: Know the warning signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion and hypothermia.
5. Germs and disease: Make sure you have soap and water or at least an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. People are more likely to forget to maintain proper hygiene during an emergency.
For more information, visit FEMA’s Ready campaign [http://www.ready.gov/community] or call 1-800-BE-READY. To join Richmond’s Medical Reserve Corps, medical and non-medical volunteers to assist during citywide emergencies, contact Amy Vincent at (804) 205-3737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.