With the lack of rain this year, dry conditions have increased Southern California’s chances of wildfires this spring and summer. ReadyOC, Orange County, Calif.’s emergency preparedness resource offers tips on what you and your family can do to ensure that your emergency kit is up-to-date.
“Updating an emergency kit is a key step in protecting yourself, your loved ones and our communities during an emergency,” said Santa Ana Police Department Commander Ken Gominsky, ReadyOC Steering Committee member, “We must all take the initiative and responsibility to prepare.”
Here are a few simple tips:
· Food and Water: It is best to check the food and replenish the water in your emergency kit every six months. Be sure that the non-perishable and canned food items have not expired and that you have a can opener. Also, make sure that there is enough for each member of your family to have at least one gallon of water per day, for three days.
· Medicine: ReadyOC recommends that your emergency kit contain not only prescription medication, but over-the-counter medication as well. Over-the-counter medication typically lasts 1-3 years but should be checked regularly. It is also recommended that prescription eyeglasses, feminine supplies and personal hygiene items be added to your kit.
· Batteries: Batteries should be tested every six months to ensure that they are able to power flashlights and radios. While checking your batteries, it’s always a good idea to check your smoke detectors too. Be sure to include extra batteries in your kit.
· Clothing: Ensure that your kit contains a complete change of clothing including long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. Don’t forget to include blankets for all family members and pets.
· Additional Items: Other items to check are infant formula, diapers, pet food and contact lenses. Double check that your kit includes cash, extra keys to your home and vehicle(s), and important documents such as birth certificates.
ReadyOC is a public service campaign funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) aimed at educating and empowering Orange County residents, businesses and the community to better prepare for any kind of natural, health or man-made threat. Through www.ReadyOC.org, the goal is to get local residents and businesses better prepared for a variety of emergency situations that could impact the county, and also to offer opportunities for concerned citizens to get involved with area readiness efforts. To date, more than 277,000 residents have made a Promise to Prepare taking the first step in their preparedness efforts with the help of ReadyOC. The emergency campaign has gained positive popularity and has won multiple awards and recognition throughout Orange County including the Award of Excellence in Disaster Preparedness from the American Red Cross, Orange County chapter.