Extreme cold and widespread power outages in Texas and Rim Country’s recent winter storm that dropped 2 to 3 feet of snow are timely reminders to ask these questions:
• What will I do if basic services such as water, gas, electricity or phones stop working?
• What would I do if I were stranded in my vehicle during a snowstorm, no cell service to call for help — and local responders unable to help right away?
Emergencies often occur without warning, allowing little or no time for you and your family to plan and stay safe. Gila County Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness encourages families to take the initiative and prepare emergency kits for your home, pets and vehicles. Preparation will significantly reduce discomfort should a widespread disaster occur.
The first 72 hours after a disaster are critical. Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, your local first responders may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis. Each person should be prepared to be self-sufficient — able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and phones — for at least three days following a disaster.
Bear in mind: it may be up to you to take care of your family, friends, and neighbors until help arrives. Keep the following on hand and ready to stay or go, backpacks or duffel bags stored in air tight containers and periodically rotate the following supplies to keep them fresh: non-perishable food (three-day supply per person), clothing, water (one gallon per day, per person), first-aid kit, flashlight, radio, extra batteries, one blanket per person, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc. Special items should also be considered, such as family documents, medications, cash, food/water for infants, diapers, etc. For each vehicle you should have, at a minimum: flashlight, first-aid kit, and an emergency blanket.
Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will also need to plan for your pets. Basic supplies include non-perishable food and pet tags with your phone number.
Get started today with this short checklist:
• Did I put the home emergency supply kit together in appropriate carrying bags/containers?
• Did I put an emergency supply kit in each family vehicle?
• Are the kits properly located and stored for easy access?
• Are the kits complete enough for the whole family and all special needs individuals?
• Do I know where to get all the materials I need for the kits?
• If I have done all of the above, have I rotated the contents of my kit in the last six months?
• If not, I’ll do so now.
Gila County offers a free service that could save your life — sign up today for text, phone or email emergency alerts. Gila County uses mass-notification provider Everbridge for real-time alerts of hazards and emergencies, specific to your local area you live or work. Choose a combination of voice, email or text message — sign up online at readygila.com.
For daily updates, seasonal safety suggestions and more, like and follow:
Earthquakes, drought, extreme heat, power outages and air quality —ReadyGila.com has information about these and more; plus emergency preparedness checklists, safety plans for infants and toddlers (seniors, too — and pets), ways to get involved — and links to other resources. Explore ReadyGila.com, and check out related public health emergency preparedness pages under “Health Services” at gilacountyaz.gov.