Saturday, September 6, 2008

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). NPM is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is a nationwide effort to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools as part of the Ready Campaign. Since we are thinking of First Aid for poultry, we should also remember to prepare for emergencies of all kinds.

I spoke with Lester Markham in Louisiana this week. Lester lost all his chickens in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita three years ago. Gustav has left him without power, but this time, because he was prepared, he lost only a few chicks.

There are four main focus areas for NPM:

a. Get a kit

b. Make a plan

c. Be informed

d. Get involved

Personally, I double everything on this list. Anticipate that many families in your neighborhood will not be prepared. Have enough to help others in a crisis.

Once a disaster has struck is the wrong time to learn that you, your family, or friends are not prepared. Preparing personal and family disaster kits in advance helps make sure that you have what you need, and don't get caught off guard. The Department of Homeland Security Ready Campaign recommends that a basic emergency supply kit include the following:

· One gallon of water per person per day, for three days – remember to include enough for your pets, too
· At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water and choose foods your family will eat: ready-to-eat canned meats, peanut butter, protein or fruit bars, dry cereal or granola. Also pack a manual can opener and eating utensils
· Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· First aid kit
· Whistle to signal for help
· Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
· Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
· Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
· Local maps
The Ready Campaign also encourages an individual to think about the special needs of family members:
· Prescription medications and glasses
· Infant formula and diapers
· Pet food, extra water for your pet, leash and collar
· Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
· Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
We encourage you to visit to download a free emergency supply checklist and get additional ideas.

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