What to know about preparing emergency kits for home and on the go

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It’s best to gather hard copies of important documents before the information is actually needed, and September, National Preparedness Month, is a good time to start.

It’s best to gather hard copies of important documents before the information is actually needed, and September, National Preparedness Month, is a good time to start.

You should have a hard copy of insurance, prescriptions, and identification documents in case they are damaged or destroyed.

“In particular, how to contact your insurance company because in the middle of an emergency you may not have immediate access to the internet, and it can be very chaotic,” said MaryAnn Tierney, regional administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Region 3which includes Virginia, West Virginia, DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

“Having these important insurance details is really essential. And having a copy is key to being on the path to faster recovery,” she said.

Hiding something, like a utility bill, in the paperwork can establish proof of residency if you need to evacuate.



Tierney said current threats in the DC area are extreme weather, including high winds, precipitation, flooding, hurricanes, and associated consequences such as power outages and transportation lanes. obstructed.

It is helpful to have a plan in advance in the event of an evacuation order.

How are you going to get where you are going? Public transport or personal vehicle? Where are you going to end up? Will you need to go to a shelter? Are you going to stay with your friends and family? Are you going to stay at the hotel?

“And then you have to think about the route you’re going to take to get from where you are — your home or your place of work — to that destination,” Tierney said.

Do you have flood insurance?

If it’s raining in your communityit can flood your community,” Tierney said.

There are two types of emergency preparedness kits you should think about that are stocked and ready to go – one for sheltering in place and another if you need to move.

Tierney said take-out kits packed in something light and portable, like a backpack, should contain water, copies of prescriptions, medicine, cereal bars, a change of clothes, clothes rain gear and comfortable shoes.

A kit stored for use at home should contain several days of food and the water for you, your family and pets.

A FEMA list of other essentials includes prescription medication, first aid kit, local maps, manual can opener, battery operated radio, wrench or pliers, whistle in case you need to call for help and a flashlight with batteries.

“The batteries aren’t inside the flashlight – glued to the flashlight, so they don’t discharge while sitting in the flashlight,” she said.

WTOP has a checklist of what to have in your car, what to do around the house if bad weather is forecast, and phone numbers for area power and cable companies.

Another message related to preparedness is to be a good neighbor.

“There are first responders and they will react. But your neighbor is usually the first responder in an emergency,” Tierney said.

Many localities have community emergency response team (CERT) programs.

“Do some research on it. Get involved because in case of disaster. You will probably be the first people to help each other,” Tierney said.

Tierney also encourages everyone to download the FEMA app to receive advice and alerts.

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