Disaster Prep Month!

American Falls is a safe community and tackles small disasters with ease. Our local emergency crews are efficient in dealing with different situations from an area gas leak to fires, flooding, or blizzards. But when you consider all the hurricanes and flooding happening on the east coast, it’s a good opportunity to ask yourself, “Is my family prepared if a larger disaster was to happen in our area and we had to leave 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 website www.ready.gov has lots of great information on making a disaster and communication plan, family emergency kits, and preparing for different types of disasters that could happen. If you do not have access to a computer or the internet, you can also go to our local health department for more information on disaster preparation.

One of the best actions for families 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.

Since September is National Disaster 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 affects 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!

Basic Emergency Kit Items:

  • WATER- 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation
  • FOOD- at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio & NOAA Weather Radio & extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air & plastic sheeting & duct tape to shelter in place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

More information and details on emergency kits can be found at www.ready.gov