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Make a Disaster Kit this Labor Day Weekend

Barb Bisset is executive director of the WakeMed Emergency Services Institute.

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes and ice storms can quickly sweep into a community and cause major disruption.  Manmade disasters, such as chemical explosions, transportation accidents, such as train derailments can easily occur and can require rapid evacuation of the area. Unfortunately, disasters may be individualized, such as a fire in your home.

While we hope we don’t have a disaster, it is important to always be prepared and to talk to your family about emergency plans for communication, evacuation and transportation.

It would be a great idea to use the extra time this Labor Day weekend to talk to your family about your emergency plans and to create a disaster preparedness evacuation kit. If you already have a disaster kit, this would be a great time to update it and replace expired items.

Items to include:

Non-perishable Food: Set aside enough to feed you, your family and your pets for a minimum of three days.  Include a non-electric can opener, paper plates, cups, flatware, garbage bags and ties.

Drinking Water: Keep a three-day supply for each member of your household.  Estimate about a gallon of water a day for each person/pet.

Important Papers: make copies of your identification, passport, credit cards, insurance policies and medical records and/or any important medical information.

Personal Items: Pack medications/prescriptions, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, soap, contact lens supplies, deodorant, baby wipes,  toilet paper and paper towels. 

At Least one Complete Change of Clothing and Shoes: Include at least one long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and closed-toed shoes/boots.  Consider rain gear.

Other Essentials: Pack a first aid kit, cash, maps, blankets, flashlights, battery-powered radio and/or television, candles, matches and batteries.

Also, be sure to check out other resources like the American Red Cross and ready.gov for more tips on being prepared for a disaster.

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