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RICHARDSON – Having an emergency kit is one of the most important parts of being prepared for natural disasters and other emergencies such as a fire, a pandemic or a chemical threat.  Richardson’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) highlights these tools year-round, but especially in September during National Preparedness Month.

“It’s the perfect time to check your emergency kit or gather one together if you haven’t already. You can do it with your family. Take the opportunity to make your family feel more comfortable,” said Alisha Gimbel, Emergency Management Coordinator with OEM.

Building a kit is easy and consists of items that can be collected around the house and used to survive over several days.  The supplies in a kit can include water, food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, extra batteries, a whistle, duct tape, garbage bags, moist towelettes, a manual can opener, local maps and cell phone chargers with a backup battery.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an emergency kit may also include a cloth face covering, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

“People should really take these emergency measures to the next level because you won’t regret it if you ever need them, “ said Alexis Snyder, Emergency Management Specialist.

An emergency kit may also include medication, cash or traveler’s checks, important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records. For a pet, include food and extra water. For a baby, infant formula, bottles, diapers and wipes.

OEM recommends people keep their emergency kit stored in a designated place where it can be ready to go in case family members have to leave the home quickly.  Canned food inside an emergency kit should be kept in a cool, dry place and boxed food should be stored tightly in plastic or metal containers. Expired items should be replaced as needed and families should re-think their needs every year and update their emergency kit.

Visit www.cor.net/OEM for more information on building an emergency kit and to register for emergency notifications.