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Corn: How to prepare your household for emergencies

Patti Corn, emergency response facilitator for the McHenry County Department of Health
Patti Corn, emergency response facilitator for the McHenry County Department of Health

September is National Preparedness Month. It’s the perfect time to get your household ready for an emergency. Complete family preparedness information can be found at www.ready.gov, but getting started can be done in three easy steps:

1. Make a kit. For a three-day emergency kit, include a gallon of water a person for each day and nonperishable food (make sure to stock food that you actually like). You also will need a flashlight and hand-crank or battery-powered radio (don’t forget extra batteries).

Personal hygiene items will come in handy, such as wet wipes, a toothbrush, sanitary pads and some dry shampoo. You also will want to have copies of important papers and extra cash on hand. Remember any medical or baby supplies family members might need.

2. Make a plan. Have all members of your household help devise your emergency plan. Call a family meeting, and make a game out of considering what emergencies could happen where you live.

Think about what to do if you are separated, including where you will meet and how will you let loved ones know you are safe. Make sure you have everyone’s cellphone numbers written down and that everyone knows the plan.

3. Be informed. Find out how local authorities will let you know an emergency is happening. Local media, county or municipal websites and their social media channels will have updated and accurate information. Make sure at least one household member is trained in first aid and CPR in case help is delayed during a disaster.

Download weather and notification apps onto your smartphone. The McHenry County Emergency Management Agency has a new free phone app called McHenry Aware that you can find by searching the app store. This handy app has many links and offers local information to help you through an emergency.

After you have assembled an emergency kit for your family, get involved. The McHenry County Medical Reserve Corps always is looking for both medical and nonmedical volunteers to help in a public health emergency. Call 815-334-4510 for information on how to be part of the MRC.

Everything you need can be found under the Emergency Preparedness and Response section of the McHenry County Department of Health’s webpage, www.mcdh.info. Check it out, and when you have put your kit together, let us see it by posting it on our Facebook or Twitter account, which can be accessed from www.mcdh.info.

• Patti Corn is the emergency response facilitator for the McHenry County Department of Health. She can be reached at 815-334-4510.

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