Ask an Angel: September 7, 2017

Our Ask An Angel correspondent is Arlene Petersen, Life Care Navigation Specialist in the area of senior home care.

Q. Can you provide some ideas of what to have on hand in case of emergency?

A. Being prepared for an emergency is important and there are many good sites on the web to look to for ideas. FEMA suggests three things to consider. Prepare a kit, make a plan, and be informed. So, how do you accomplish these three things? The American Red Cross stresses the importance of planning ahead and assembling a kit packed with supplies to sustain you with basic needs for at least three days. Such items suggested for your kit include:

• Water, recommending one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• A three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener for canned food
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit and prescription medication
• Sanitation and hygiene items plus a change of clothing
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
• Moist towelettes
• Garbage bags
• Local maps, cash, picture ID, bank information
• Cell phone and charger
• Emergency contacts written on paper (laminated if possible)
• Whistle to attract attention

It is important for you to make sure you have enough medication to last one week. Keep a detailed list of those medications along with your physician’s information listed. If you use special equipment, contact your provider and ask about emergency preparedness plans they have in place.

Don’t forget other items you may need like eyeglasses, hearing aids, batteries, etc. Make sure you have a copy of your insurance cards and policies on hand as well. Your grab and go kit should also have copies of your legal documents in it. Consider adding Social Security numbers, attorney documents, and bank information. Don’t forget that cash may be needed to purchase supplies, so have some cash ready. Write down important phone numbers, including your own contact number and include it in your kit. Your kit will be unique because your needs are unique. If you own a vehicle, make sure it has jumper cables, flares, first aid kit, and a blanket. The list I have included is not exhaustive. It is important to consider your individual needs and take time to work on your specific plan.

Have a question for our angel correspondent? You can send our angel an email to or send your question via mail to Ask An Angel, 65 Woodbury St., South Elgin, IL 60177.

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