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Ready SoCal: Emergency kit

September 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
If a disaster were to hit Southern California, would you have the necessary emergency materials to survive?There is no time to plan for a disaster once houses have crumbled, roads have buckled and basic utilities have been cut off. Emergency officials urge all of us to stock up before disaster strikes.

"Emergency services may not be available as immediate as they are during normal days. So it's always good to have some sort of emergency or first-aid kit at home," said Eric Godfrey, REI.

Godfrey specializes in preparedness supplies at a local REI store. He recommends a prepackaged emergency kit that should include a basic first-aid kit

"More, for a disaster, you will want to look at something like this. It's going to have a food supply, water supply, another first-aid supply as well ... enough for two people for several days," said Godfrey.

A kit, similar to the one Godfrey described, costs about $150. However, some customers can build their own.

Everyone should keep a supply of bottled water at home, but Eric also recommends a water purifier.

"This is one of my favorites because the pump, it is a purifier -- it's not a micro-filter, so it gets out bacteria and viruses. There are also tablets out there that do do viruses, but you're limited by the amount of tablets that you have. So once you run out of those, that's pretty much it. With this, it goes through about 300 gallons of water before it needs to be changed out," said Godfrey.

In addition, it's likely the power will be out after a major earthquake. So Eric recommends hand-crank radios or flashlights, which do not require batteries.

"I would really look into something like this, that is rechargeable. Just because if you do have a limited battery supply, that you can charge this and you don't have to worry about replacing the batteries every so often. It just runs by turning up the handle and cranking it up ... and it will last for about six hours after one minute of cranking," said Godfrey.

It's important to be prepared at home, but for Southern Californians, who spend so much time on the road, it's also important to keep something in your trunk.

"Those are times that if an emergency does strike, I'm going to need to have my emergency supplies," said Nancy Kindelan, American Red Cross.

Kindelan is with the Long Beach chapter of the American Red Cross. She says an emergency kit in your car can be customized to include jackets, comfortable shoes, water and food.

"You can heat them up, they last a long time in the car and we actually feed these on disasters. Some of the people on the Gulf Coast are eating these right now," said Kindelan. "My biggest concern is staying warm and having water because those would be the two things that would put my life at risk the fastest."

By having what you need at the ready, Kindelan says you could save your life and the life of a loved one.

 

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