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The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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Don't Forget the Can Opener

American Falls is a safe community and tackles small disasters with ease. Our local EMS and disaster personnel are incredibly efficient in dealing with different situations from an area gas leak to fires, flooding, or blizzards. But you should also ask, "Is my family prepared if a larger disaster was to happen in our area and we were displaced from our home?" Although it's difficult to anticipate any and every situation that can happen, we can get prepared for the more likely disasters that may happen in our community.

According to the State of Idaho Hazard Mitigation Plan, the three most likely hazards that Idahoans face are floods, earthquakes, and wildfires. The other disasters listed are landslides, dam/levee/canal failures, avalanches, drought, lightning, severe storms, wind/tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and hazardous materials. The website www.ready.gov has great information on making a plan and emergency kit for you and your family to prepare for a disaster. The website even has different disasters that you can get more information on how to prepare for real disasters that could happen. If you do not have access to a computer or the Internet, you can also go to your local health department for more information on disaster preparation.

One of the first and best actions for families that is recommended to prepare for these disasters is to have an emergency kit assembled and ready to go- before the disaster comes. You will generally not have time to gather or 'shop' for items you need during an emergency, so have your kits assembled well ahead of time. A proper disaster kit should have enough basic food, water, and supplies to get your family through the first 72-hours of an emergency or disaster. Even after a disaster, outages to services such as power, water, or sewage can occur for an extended time, so be prepared to handle these interruptions as well.

Most experts warn that disaster kits can be expensive to put together. Sometimes people take up to six months to put a home disaster kit together. It is an added family cost to have a disaster kit in your home, but the protection and peace of mind is well worth the cost. If you slowly build your kit a little each month then the costs can be easier to manage. Dollar stores are also great places to find many of the items to put into disaster kits and can make it more affordable for your family. It is also important that your kit is mobile, such as using backpacks, in case you need to leave your home. Once your disaster kit is in place, remember to check it periodically and keep it up-to-date and accessible so you can gather your supplies at a moment's notice. There are more ideas and information on making your disaster kit up-to-date and ready on the website www.ready.gov.

Since September is National Preparedness Month, this is the perfect time to either start that family disaster plan or check your existing emergency kit. American Falls is a safe community to live in, but you never know when devastating effects of Mother Nature or other unanticipated events may come our way. It is likely that a catastrophic event will never happen, but it never hurts to be prepared just in case!

Dallas Clinger, PCHD Administrator

"There are more ideas and information on making your disaster kit up-to-date and ready on the website www.ready, gov."



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Original Publication Date: September 10, 2014



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