Sugar Plums, Mistletoe and Disaster Preparedness for the Holidays?

December 5, 2005

Every year millions of American lives are disrupted by natural disasters ranging from wildfires and floods to hurricanes and tornadoes.

But all major disasters have one thing in common: they focus attention on the importance of pre-disaster preparedness and the critical need to take action before disaster strikes. The trick is to convert good intentions into tangible deeds, and according to FEMA Regional Director John Pennington, there’s no time like the holidays.

“The holidays are a great time to give important, inexpensive gifts that say: ‘I care!’ and reduce risk exposure for friends and loved ones,” said Pennington. “Gifts that can save lives are a wonderful way of welcoming in 2006.”

Emergency and preparedness items that could make gifts this Holiday Season include:

* NOAA Weather Radios and extra batteries.
* Enrollment in a CPR or first-aid class.
* Smoke detectors.
* Appropriate fire extinguishers (kitchen, garage, car).
* Disaster kits for homes, offices and autos (first aid kits, food, water and prescription medications for 72 hours, extra clothing, blankets, flashlights).
* Foldable ladders for second-story escape in a fire.
* Car kits (emergency flares, shovels, ice scrapers, flashlights and fluorescent distress flags).
* Pet Disaster Kits (food, water, leashes, dishes and carrying case or crate).
* A camp stove with extra fuel.
* The gift of a gardener to cut back combustible vegetation from wildfire-vulnerable homes.
* National Flood Insurance.

Information and preparedness tips are available from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s READY.GOV site at: and from FEMA at:

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