Did you know September is National Preparedness month? It is a good time for us to look at how prepared we are in our own homes to protect ourselves and our families in case of an emergency. By taking action before an emergency arises we can minimize the impact they will have on our lives

Here is a web site for free preparedness resources. http://www.ready.gov Once there I clicked on Ready America. In the section for older Americans there were some great tips and ideas of what to do in case of an emergency. We all have different needs and abilities and we are all unique. But we all need to plan for all kinds of emergencies and put our plans in place.

Start by evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan.

·Consider how a disaster might affect your individual needs.

·Make a plan to make it on your own for a short period of time. You might not have access to a medical facility or a drugstore.

·Identify what kind of resources you use on a daily basis. Consider what you might do if they are limited or not available.

·Get an emergency supply kit. Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

Water: One gallon of water per person per day for at least 72 hours, for drinking and sanitation. If you use more than this amount on a daily basis, store more.

*Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

*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 If you plan on turning off utilities contact your utility companies to find out their recommendations and learn how to do it before an emergency.

*Local maps

*Prescription medications and glasses. Make a list of prescription medicines including dosage, treatment and allergy information. These can be kept in the Porta Vault. (See below)

*Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about what else you need to prepare.

*Pet food and extra water for your pet. Be sure you have a pet carrier handy in case you have to leave your home.

*Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. Keep a list of the style and serial number of medical devices or other life-sustaining devices. Include operating information and instructions. Have copies of your medical insurance and Medicare cards in your portable container.

I recommend the Porta Vault for keeping all family documents together that you can pick up and take with you in a moment’s notice. To purchase the Porta Vault go to http://www.marilynbohn.com and click on the Porta Vault icon on my home page. To receive a 5% discount during the month of September, 2008 please use coupon code “PREPARE” at checkout.

*Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.

*Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

*Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

*Matches in a waterproof container

*Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels

*Paper and pencil

When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.

Create A Support Network

*If you anticipate needing assistance during a disaster talk to family, friends and others who will be part of your personal support network.

*Write down and share each aspect of your emergency plan with everyone in your support network.

*Make sure everyone knows how you plan to evacuate your home or workplace and where you will go in case of a disaster.

*Make sure that someone in your local network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.

*Teach those who will help you how to use any lifesaving equipment, administer medicine in case of an emergency.

*Practice your plan with those who have agreed to be part of your network.

The American Red Cross website http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/seniors.html also has information on preparing for an emergency. Help to reduce the fear in case of an emergency by preparing before an emergency happens. Have a plan, remember to follow it. Always listen to the adults in charge and ask for help if you need it.