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Are You Ready for an Emergency?

January is a great month to think about those once-a-year tasks: Changing the batteries in your fire alarms, getting papers sorted for tax prep, checking your insurance policies. It’s also a good month to review your emergency plans. It’s true that here in Hawaii we might not have snow-related crises, but we do have the danger of hurricanes, tsunamis, and the more ordinary fire or power failure.

Make sure you’re prepared:

  • Check and replace batteries in your smoke detectors, flashlights, radios. An emergency wind-up radio is not dependent on either batteries or electricity. Check that your fire extinguishers are current.
  • Have at least a half-tank of gas in your car.
  • Do a household-hazard check: Are there flammable items that need to be secured, things that might fall, furniture you might trip over in the dark, tree branches that might break a window or impede exit? Keep small emergency lights in a few spots around the house.
  • Learn how to shut off gas, water, and electricity.
  • Have a plan for your pets: Carriers, leashes, food, bowls, prescriptions, immunizations records, and arrange lodging in case you must go to a shelter.
  • Set up your email account so you can check it on the web from another location.
  • Practice an emergency exit drill, from home and work.
  • Establish an emergency contact plan for your family.

Stock emergency supplies at home, at work, and in your car:

  • Put together a go-kit: Flashlight, radio, batteries, candles/matches, cash in small denominations, copies of important documents and identification (keep in a plastic bag), phone numbers (don’t rely on your cell phone), personal hygiene items (toilet paper, soap/shampoo, feminine hygiene, diapers, tissues, toothbrush, comb), maps, extra keys to house and car, snack items, water, prescription medication, sturdy shoes, rain gear, hat, gloves, change of clothes, extra prescription glasses and repair kit, towel, pocket knife, utility knife, duct tape, plastic bags (all sizes), sewing kit, mirror, dust mask, paper/pens, wrist watch/clock, whistle, recent photos of family and pets.
  • Emergency medical kit: Disposable gloves, sterile dressings and bandages, Ace bandages, antibiotic ointment, antibiotic towelettes, eye-wash solution, scissors, tweezers, matches, aspirin, anti-diarrhea medication, prescription medication.
  • Stockpile a reasonable amount of emergency food and water (1 gallon per person per day) to last at least 3 days, and remember to check expiration dates. Rotate fresh items in, if they are supplies you use normally. Food items should be easy to open, and not require heat or refrigeration.
  • Car kit: Window punch, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, flares, electrical/duct tape, emergency tire inflator, blankets, tarps, sleeping bags, cell phone charger, tools, hatchet, nylon rope, shovel, bolt cutters, camp lantern, and water.
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