Elisa Shackelton: Attend the emergency preparedness fair for ideas, freebies

— National Preparedness Month is a nationwide effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.

National Preparedness Month 2007 is being sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with the goal of the month being to increase public awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action.

Be sure to attend the 'Are You Ready' Emergency Preparedness Fair being sponsored in Northwest Colorado by the American Red Cross from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Craig Holiday Inn.

How prepared do you think you are for an emergency? Luckily if you are among the many Coloradoans who have and maintain outdoor equipment and supplies for camping, hunting, backcountry hiking, etc. you may already have many of the necessary pieces of an emergency survival kit. Just be sure to keep everything in a convenient place and replenish supplies, as necessary.

The following items are recommended to be part of a basic Emergency Supply Kit:

• Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. (For detailed information related to water treatment and storage, request or obtain a free copy of the CSU Fact Sheet titled "Emergency Water Supplies and Treatment" no. 6.704.)

• Food - at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food

• Battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

• Flashlight and extra batteries

• First aid kit

• Whistle to signal for help

• Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to "shelter-in-place"

• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

• Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

• Local maps

Additional items to consider adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

• Prescription medications and glasses

• Infant formula and diapers

• Pet food and extra water for your pet

• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

• Cash or traveler's checks and change

• Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov

• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.

• Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

• Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper - When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

• Fire Extinguisher

• Matches in a waterproof container

• Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

• Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels

• Paper and pencil

• Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

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