Disaster kit is handy with winter heading our way

November 05, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Emergency officials are advising local residents to pack an emergency kit to keep handy as winter months approach.

Despite the name, disaster kits aren't just for when residents must leave their homes, said Verna Brown, Washington County management coordinator with fire and emergency services.

A supply of food rations and emergency information also can be necessary in power outages or if roads aren't cleared quickly during a winter storm, Brown said.

Water is an important component of any disaster kit, and Brown recommends one gallon of water per person for three days, she said. Ready-to-eat food is another necessity, and Brown recommends granola bars, peanut butter and crackers.


In preparing for unexpected emergencies, people often forget to make arrangements for their pets, who also need a supply of food and medications they use, she said.

Copies of important documents, including insurance papers, driver's licenses, prescriptions and Social Security cards also should be inside a disaster kit.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has booklets titled "Are You Ready?" available for people who want to ensure they are prepared for any kind of disaster, Brown said.

Brown also warned that, although people feel safe keeping all their important phone numbers in their cell phones, a paper copy of those numbers should be kept in a disaster kit in case cell phones lose their battery life and can't be recharged because of a power outage, she said.

Anyone who would like more information, especially senior citizens and residents with disabilities who need help planning for a disaster, may call Brown at 240-313-2930.

For more information, go to or call Washington County's emergency management office at 240-313-2930.

The kit

Items that should be packed in a disaster kit:

· Water
· Ready-to-eat food
· Flashlight
· Portable radio
· Extra batteries
· Prescription medications
· Pet food and medications, if needed
· First-aid kit

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