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Who will make your emergency kit?

By Joe Dougherty

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Feb. 1 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Editor’s note: This is the third of a series of columns to help Utahns get ready for emergencies, disasters and the Great Utah ShakeOut 2013. Read the rest of the articles here.

When disaster strikes, you may only have enough time to grab the essentials: food, water and survival supplies. Or worse, you may not be anywhere near food, water or survival supplies.

The trick, then, is to make sure you have those essentials near you.

This week, to get ready for disaster, start building your grab-and-go kits. Commonly called a 72-hour kit, the grab-and-go kit is what you take with you when you have to flee. You’ll notice I said grab-and-go kits (plural). It’s important that you have a kit at home, at work and in your car.

Remember, Utah is earthquake country. We’re overdue for a major earthquake, which could strike at any time. To prepare, the entire state of Utah is participating in an earthquake drill on April 17 at 10:15 a.m. called the Great Utah ShakeOut.

Last year, nearly 1 million people were registered to participate. Currently, more than 469,000 Utahns, Utahns from all walks of life, are planning to join the drill. Each week, Be Ready Utah, Emergency Essentials and the Deseret News are bringing you emergency preparedness tips to help you get ready for the ShakeOut or any major disaster.

Your grab-and-go kits can be assembled from household items, such as a flashlight with extra working batteries, a first-aid kit, garbage sack and work gloves.

Other kit essentials include:

Emergency drinking water

Food or MREs

Battery-operated or hand-crank radio

Hand-operated can opener

Cash in small bills

Whistle

Waterproof matches

Candles

Personal and/or feminine hygiene items

I like Skittles. So I have Skittles. Pick your own snack.

A more extensive checklist can be found at BeReadyUtah.gov.

Don’t forget to pack a kit for your pets to include food, medicine, a kennel and litter box. Add a puzzle or coloring book for children, and pay attention to a family member’s special medical needs. Your car and work kits should include walking shoes in case you can only get around under your own power. Make sure to include extra clothes or blankets in your car.

The most important thing, of course, is to start today. Remember, these kits don’t make themselves.

You can share your kit success on Twitter by tagging your tweets with the hashtag #whatsinyourkit.

Joe Dougherty is a preparedness expert and the spokesman for the Utah Division of Emergency Management and Be Ready Utah. Send your preparedness tips to jdougherty@utah.gov. Daily preparedness tips available at twitter.com/bereadyutah.

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