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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Disaster Safety Lists

This article was offered to the AbsoluteWrite.com e-book for aiding in relief for victms of Hurricane Katrina.

Joanne D. Kiggins

Many of us don’t think to prepare before a disaster happens. It seems to be an afterthought; wishing we had prepared in some way before an emergency situation drops in our lap.
Here are two lists I’ve prepared for those who want to make sure they’re ready in case of emergency.


· Arrange an out-of-area phone contact person, and keep this and other emergency phone numbers near each telephone. Make sure family members know these numbers.
· Know the evacuation route of your area.
· Identify safe places in your home and on your property. Practice evacuation drills using two different escape routes.
· Assign each family member a specific task in case of an emergency. For example, designate one person to be in charge of turning off electricity, one to close windows, one to collect the emergency container, one to take charge of any pets, etc.
· Choose a family meeting place away from home. Make sure everyone is very familiar with the area chosen. After a disaster, topography can be destroyed. Choose a second meeting place, possibly in another close by town.
· Check your insurance policies and make records of your possessions.


Prepare an emergency kit and keep it readily accessible and every family member knows where it is in case of disaster. Choose a portable container such as a plastic storage bin or garbage with wheels. At the very minimum your emergency kit should contain provisions for at least four days:
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
· Cell phone and extra battery.
· One gallon of water per person per day
· Canned and dried foods those are easy to store and prepare. Be sure to include a manual can opener! If possible include a one-burner propane cooker and a few small bottles of propane.
· Crackers, peanut butter, dried fruits and nuts, granola bars, beef jerky, containers of juice, canned soups, stews, and vegetables.
· If needed, include infant supplies including disposable diapers, disposable bottles, and formula.
· Paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils.
· Candles and waterproof matches or lighters.
· Prescription medicines
· First aid kit that includes extra prescription medications, extra eyeglasses, bandages, gauze pads, tape, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointments and creams, peroxide, eye drops, smelling salts, and over-the-counter pain medications.
· Personal items such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant.
· Change of clothing, shoes, and work gloves.
· Sleeping bags or blankets.
· Sanitation articles such as toilet paper, baby wipes, disinfectant, sanitizing hand cleanser, chlorine bleach, and water purification tablets.
· Garbage bags, large. Can be used as ground cover or poncho. (Colors other than black can be used as a visual as well.)
· Bucket with lid to be used as toilet. Can also store a small axe, folding shovel, rope, Swiss army knife, and whistle.
· If you have pets include a leash or pet carrier near your kit and add a four-day supply of pet food.
· In a fireproof/waterproof container place important documents like wills, insurance papers, medical records, inventory of possessions, identification, etc. Add a small family photo album with captions for easy identification.

If you and your family members don’t already have an emergency kit made or haven’t prepared for an emergency, please take time after reading this article to prepare yourselves now. A disaster can strike at any time.

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