Don’t Forget…

(Sacramento) – Daylight Saving Time begins March 9, and the Sacramento County Public Health Division has a special message for residents: When you set your clocks, check your stocks — your stocks of emergency supplies, that is!

“We saw in January how a severe windstorm can knock out power, damage property and affect residents,” said Sacramento County Health Officer Glennah Trochet, M.D. “When we spring forward this year on March 9, we want to use that date as an occasion for every resident to make sure that their family has an emergency kit they can depend on in case of disaster.”

Assembling or refreshing your stock of emergency supplies before a disease outbreak or other emergency occurs is smart and it’s a lot easier than you might think to create an emergency “Go Bag.”

Sacramento County Public Health has a four-page planning kit available on its website, that includes a checklist of exactly what you’ll need.

“Start by purchasing a large backpack or a duffle bag with a comfortable shoulder strap,” said Sacramento County Public Health spokesperson Kerry Shearer. “Then, start to fill it with essential items you already have on hand. Over time, you can purchase additional items for your Go Bag when you do your regular shopping,” Shearer said.

Go Bag items make great gift suggestions. For instance, when your children or grandchildren ask you what you want for your birthday, suggest a hand-cranked AM/FM radio or a bright LED-beam flashlight.

If you wear glasses, the next time you get a new pair, put the old pair in the go-bag. If you take regular medication, ask your doctor if you can get extra to place in your Go Bag (but be sure to keep the medication up-to-date by using and replenishing it according to the expiration date).

Don’t forget to include some cash, because banks and ATMs will probably be closed or inaccessible in a widespread disaster.

Store your Go Bag in an easy-to-access location, such as a closet near your front door. The items in your Go Bag should be extras: you should not need them for everyday use because it’s too easy to forget to put them back after you’ve “borrowed” them from your emergency kit.

A few extra items that are essential but often overlooked for an emergency Go Bag include:

  • wallet card with emergency and family phone numbers
  • electronic copies of important papers, such as insurance policies, which can be stored on a small USB flash-memory drive
  • identification
  • a change of clothes for each person
  • a non-electric can opener
  • first aid kit
  • medications with prescription directions
  • batteries for cell phones and other items
  • toiletries
  • plastic bags
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • canned dog or cat food if you have pets
  • blankets

These are not all of the items you would need. Take the time to think about and identify what else you use daily in case you had to leave your home suddenly.

One very important point to remember is that your loved ones will be very worried about you following a disaster. And, you might be worried about your loved ones in the affected areas.

One task you can accomplish right now is to identify an out-of-area contact for all of you and share that information. Agree that this out-of-area contact will serve as the communication hub for you and your loved ones in a disaster.

o, when there is a disaster, you call that household to check-in and report your status (to inform them of your location or the shelter in which you are staying). It also gives you the opportunity to find out who else has checked in, reducing a great deal of the anxiety and worry that happens during a disaster.

Additional Resources:
Sacramento County Public Health – Offers a downloadable Are You Prepared? guide produced by a consortium of Sacramento agencies and available in multiple languages.
Citizen Voice – Offers a “Safely Out” kit at nominal cost to help you organize your emergency information and inform emergency officials you’ve safely evacuated your home.
FloodReady – Sacramento County Department of Water Resources web page featuring important flood safety information, flood maps and preparedness tips.
Ready – Lists contents for a robust emergency kit and hosts helpful instructional videos.

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