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Build emergency kit ahead of time

by Karen Brier

This was the best Independence Day we’ve had since we moved here. We were invited over to the Littrel’s house for a terrific cookout and then drove over to Tahoe for the fireworks. It was a new experience for us to spend the evening socializing while taking periodic peeps at the Bison fire. After we came back from the fireworks, we stayed up late, watching as the flames raged against the night sky. Not a comfortable feeling. It made us feel better to get our bug-out bags ready and be prepared in case we had to evacuate like the other folks.

FEMA says that the big thing is to “Be informed” and “Make a plan.” Also, build your kit ahead of time. A basic disaster supply should have, at a minimum:

■ Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

■ Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

■ Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

■ Flashlight

■ Extra batteries for the flashlight and radios

■ First aid kit

■ Whistle to signal for help

■ Dust mask to help filter contaminated air

■ 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

■ Manual can opener for food

■ Local maps

■ Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

■ Personal identity papers like drivers license and birth certificates

■ Cash, credit card or debit card

■ Any medications, eye glasses or other things you can’t live without for at least 72 hours

For more information on packing your own bug out bag, go to: http://www.ready.gov/.

To the basic list, we also added sleeping bags, pillows and a few entertainment items like books, notebooks, pencils and a laptop and charger. The interesting thing was the non-essentials we chose to put into our bags. My son packed a carving of bears in a canoe that his grandparents gave him and I packed a tiny Limoges box that my best friend’s mother gave me many years ago.

Don’t forget your animals – we realized as we were packing up that we had a plan for the dogs, but not the chickens. We finally decided that if we were forced to evacuate, we could put straw in our 4×8 travel trailer and nail chicken wire over the top. Then we could take food and water, just like we do for the dogs. In retrospect, we would also need to take some egg cartons, since we get 18 eggs a day or more. I guess we’d be popular when we turned up at a shelter.

So far, the hard work and courage of the hundreds of firefighters who are fighting this wildfire have kept our neighborhood safe. I am looking forward to thanking them on Saturday at the RVFD cookout.

Reach Karen Brier at RuhenstrothRamblings@yahoo.com, or 790-0072.