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Carin Booth: Have an emergency plan, supplies to prepare for disaster
Carin Booth
Carin Booth.

Communities across Georgia are subject to a number of potential disasters such as fires, flooding, severe storms, earthquakes, dam failures, tornadoes and hurricanes. We can often track weather patterns but do not know how the storm will specifically impact us until we are faced with it, much like the situation with Hurricane Irma. 

While we all hope that such occurrences never happen, it has been shown time and again that being prepared for disasters is prudent. During and right after a disaster, emergency services and government agencies may not be able to respond immediately to our needs. Their own buildings, equipment, personnel, communications and mobility may be severely hampered by the event. They will be overwhelmed. Experts tell us to plan to be on our own for a minimum of three days.

Disasters make life very uncomfortable. Proper planning and preparation will help you and your household be more comfortable in the event that your home is damaged, or you can’t get back into it. Think of it as a “quality of life” issue.

The most important concept in developing a home emergency preparedness plan is communication. Everyone in your household needs to be involved so that when disaster strikes, everyone will know what to do. How well you manage the aftermath of disaster depends a great deal on your level of preparedness before it strikes.

It will involve proper planning on your family’s part to be prepared. Consider creating an emergency preparedness plan and have a kit available for your family to use. This kit should include these basic items: water, food, first aid, clothing, bedding, tools and emergency supplies. Consider the following as a guide when packing your families kit.

  • Water: You should have one gallon of water per person per day with a minimum of a three-day supply. Take pets into consideration when planning. You may want to have at least a half-gallon per pet per day. Replace these items every six months.
  • Food: Have at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food for each person. Select foods that require no refrigeration such as canned meats, fruits and vegetables, juices, peanut butter, trail mix or ready-to-eat energy bars. 
  • First aid: Consider storing two first aid kits — a large one for the house and a smaller version that can be kept in the trunk of your car. This kit should include items such as bandages, gauze, nonlatex gloves, soap, tweezers, scissors, a thermometer and antibacterial towelettes. A full list of a well-stocked kit is available on our website.
  • Tools and supplies: Paper products and hygiene products are important to have on hand. A battery-operated weather radio with extra batteries is important, as well as a backup phone charger. Do not install batteries until needed. Also, consider having cash and change in your supply kit.

Having a home emergency preparedness plan can help you feel prepared at place your mind at ease knowing your family has a strategy in an emergency situation. For more information, visit our website,

Sources: Home Emergency Preparedness Shopping List, a publication of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

Carin Booth is the family and consumer sciences agent at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Office in Hall County. She can be reached at 770-535-8293 or

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