St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services
Contact: Jim Gangl, 218-725-5222, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Skoog, 218-725-5240, email@example.com
(Sixth in a series of six stories)
Home Emergency Kit Recommended By Public Health
Living in northern Minnesota, every winter we hear radio or television weather reports where we are reminded to place a winter emergency kit in our car. There are other emergencies, like chemical spills or gas leaks that could force us to leave our homes at a moment’s notice. Today, the threat of terrorism has become real. Most situations can be handled by individual families if they have an emergency kit.
Family emergency kits go hand-in-hand with the emergency plan that was discussed in a previous story of this series. The Northeast Minnesota Regional Hospital Emergency Preparedness Group, Public Health agencies and all of the emergency providers have put a coordinated plan in place to protect the region. Individual families and businesses need to also be ready in case of extended power outages. Some people may need to stay at home or at work for a time. The kit is also needed if families need to evacuate their home to move outside or to another area.
Go to www.NEMNBePrepared.net to obtain information about items contained in an emergency kit for families. You can also contact the nearest St. Louis County Public Health office for the "Be Prepared" fact sheet, if you don’t have internet access. Some of the items needed in an emergency kit include three gallons of water per person, per day and a three day supply of food. International health officials now say that a 30 day food supply may be necessary to be ready for a pandemic, because food availability will likely be affected. The same is needed for your family’s pets. Basic kitchen accessories are needed for cooking, eating and storage. Any special needs for infants or seniors also should be considered. The water and food should be replaced every six months for freshness.
A battery powered radio or television and a supply of fresh batteries are needed for current emergency information. If batteries are replaced at the same time as food and water, there will always be a fresh supply. Flashlights, and blankets or sleeping bags for each person, as well as other essentials like matches in a waterproof container, paper, pencils, fire extinguishers, a whistle and a map of the area are some of the items to be included. Gather together an extra set of keys, ID cards for the family, copies of credit cards, medical records, and prescription medications. Medicines should be stored in a first aid kit. Paper items should be sealed in plastic for protection from moisture.
Personal hygiene and sanitation items are needed, along with one complete change of clothing and footwear for each person. Books, games, and toys for children for entertainment can help during a long confinement. Sturdy, easy to carry, non-paper containers should be used to store the emergency kit.
Have everyone in the family, including children, work on putting together your emergency kit. Ask for input from everyone on what to include. Every family member needs to know where the emergency kit is stored.
In case of any emergency event, listen to your local radio or television station for advice on appropriate actions for you and your family. For more information go the Northeast Minnesota regional website at www.NEMNBePrepared.net or contact your nearest St. Louis County Public Health office in Ely, Duluth, Hibbing or Virginia for the "Be Prepared" fact sheet.