Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Parents should bring a 72-hour kit, toys, and cell phone charger to emergency shelter

By Laura Lewis

As a shelter manager for the American Red Cross, I have learned the importance of disaster preparedness.  If a client comes into the shelter prepared, the stay is much easier.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Come to the shelter with a 72-hour emergency kit that is specific to your family needs.  You will have a much easier time then the person who comes totally unprepared.  
  • If you come with children, your kit should have toys and games for your children.   The American Red Cross does what they can but they do not have the resources to keep children entertained all day.  
  • You need to have a solar or crank flashlight that also charges your cell phone.  Although the shelter may have electricity, too many electronics operating at the same time can cause a breakdown.    

Emergency Managers should communicate preparedness ideas like these to the public prior to a disaster.  Communication through Emergency Preparedness Fairs, the media, non-profit organizations and local government is key to preparing the general public for a disaster.  

The American Red Cross has several programs that teach people how to be prepared in a disaster on their webpage Plan and Prepare at

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