Jen Pilgreen, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Disasters and emergencies can happen at any time and anywhere. Would you be ready if a firefighter or police officer knocked on your door and told you to evacuate immediately?
The Rockport 5 Fire burning in Summit County has forced the evacuations of hundreds of people. The fire was still threatening homes Wednesday, and county officials said the evacuation order will remain in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday.
Many left their homes with no time to collect belongings, medications and other necessary items in case of an extended evacuation.
"A lot of people think, ‘Oh, this is something that we're going to do in the future,’ and then when tragedy hits or these wildfires hit, they think, ‘Oh, this is something I should have done,'" said Ann Evans, a training specialist with the American Red Cross in Salt Lake City.
The Red Cross recommends that each person being evacuated have a 72-hour kit or a bag packed with emergency essentials, such as water, food, clothes, a flashlight, a battery-operated or hand-cranked radio, first aid kit, sanitation and personal hygiene items, cellphone with charger, family and emergency contact information, extra cash in case a working ATM isn’t available, emergency blankets and maps.
Extra medication should also be in the kit.
“A lot of people put these together a year in advance and (don't) check those," Evans said, "so you really need to rotate the those medications.”
The same goes for the food in the kit, which should not be expired.
Other things to consider for an emergency kit include medical supplies such as hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses and syringes. If a baby is in the family, bottles, formula, baby food and diapers should be in the kit.
If children will be evacuated, bring games and activities for them.
Pets need a kit, too. It should include a collar, leash, ID, food, carrier and bowl.
The kit or kits should be placed by the garage door, and having an extra set in the car is also a good idea.
Also, have some medical information to refer to, just in case. The Red Cross has "ready reference cards" with first aid tips with photos.
The Red Cross also recommends that people consider taking first aid and CPR training courses. A lot of times, emergency crews are tied up and it may be a while before they can get to you.
The American Red Cross has a preparedness checklist available on its website, redcross.org.
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