This past July, fourteen members of our community were trained by the Alaska American Red Cross to help manage shelters. They were preparing for the possibility, however remote, that Cordovans may need to evacuate their homes after a major disaster. The shelters would provide for the temporary housing and feeding of such displaced citizens.
Those volunteers, a Red Cross DAT Team (Disaster Assistance Team) spent three days training and preparing to become shelter managers. Now it’s our turn, as citizens, to prepare for that possibility.
Their job is to transform buildings in Cordova into places of refuge…shelters. Our job, if we are an evacuee, is to arrive at the shelter with some degree of readiness ourselves. It can be accomplished by preparing a “To Go” kit. The classic “To Go” kit is pre-fashioned and specifically placed; thus we are able to grab it…as we run out the door of our home.
Although many components of the “TO GO” kit are the same for each family, it will not be exactly the same. It will be tailored to meet the needs of your specific family and will be stored in backpacks or duffel bags or covered trash containers. In general, your kit should include:
- Water, and some food that won’t spoil.
- One change of clothing and footwear/person.
- One blanket or sleeping bag/person. Bring a blanket with you to the shelter if you possibly can!
- A first aid kit that has family medicines/prescriptions in it.
- Emergency tools, including a battery-powered radio and flashlight… and lots of batteries.
- An extra set of car keys and some form of monetary payment.
- Special items for infants, the elderly, or special needs family members.
- An extra pair of glasses and toiletries.
- Copies of important family documents, in a waterproof container.
Once the family “To Go” kit is finished, make certain that someone is specifically responsible to grab it as the family evacuates the home. Make sure everyone knows where it is….and place the kit in a spot where it is easily accessible. The closet that is filled to the ceiling with junk is probably not a good choice!
However, making the kit… is a good choice. Be prudent. Be ready. Be prepared.