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Create an Emergency Family Game Plan

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

Different types of disasters and emergencies happen in communities across the country, but there are key steps that every household can take to be better prepared for them. If you do nothing else this month, take time to create a disaster plan including a home fire escape plan. Update your emergency supplies.

A Message from Mill Valley's Resident and Mill Valley's Fire Department Emergency Preparedness Consultant Maggie Lang:

Updating our emergency supplies: a day of labor to keep our family prepared!

Like many of you, I have watched the past few weeks with feelings of dismay and sorrow as Houston residents struggled to respond to apocryphal rains and then flooding. I felt frustrated at not being able to help, particularly as the images were familiar, since we have experienced similar, although far less severe, flooding here in Mill Valley. Although my home was not affected in previous floods, I remember how hard it was to get around town and not being able to just run to the market to pick up any item we needed.

Yes, we did send donations to help out, but I was still frustrated with a sense of not being productive or helpful during this monumental disaster. I watched the lines for Houston residents as they waited to pick up bottled water or the chaos of shelters as thousands had to leave their flooded homes.

There are many aspects of this disaster that residents could not have prevented but I’m sure that not all Houston residents had to evacuate and for those that didn’t, I wondered how many had the necessary food, water & first aid supplies they needed to take care of their families? So with that extra motivation & energy, our family decided to spend the Labor Day weekend updating our own emergency supplies and I encourage you to do the same; check out www.cityofmillvalley.org/emergencypreparedness or www.readymarin.org to find out exactly what to store to take care of your family in the event of a disaster, such as flooding.

Here’s what we did:

  • Went through all our emergency supplies, throwing out anything outdated or no longer useable.
  • Washed any clothes, towels, etc. that smelled moldy or just not fresh. Made sure the clothes are ones that actually fit!
  • Updated our food; mostly with canned food, discarding any that had expired.  Enough for 5 days for 3 people. Replaced two small bags of dog food with fresh food.
  • Updated our water in 2.5 gal. containers; enough for one gallon/person/day for 3 people (+ our dog) for 5-7 days.
  • Replaced old battery-operated radio (didn’t work-was pretty old) with a new one from Goodman’s.
  • Checked all batteries & made sure they worked.
  • Checked on the first aid supplies; all ok.
  • Placed everything in plastic bags & placed in rolling garbage cans (from Home Depot); labeled the lids “emergency supplies” and put a list of the contents of each bag in a clear plastic baggie on top. Bungee cord for each can to keep lid on.
  • Placed all cans with emergency supplies outside but under the edge of the deck & easily accessible. Not in direct sunlight and covered with tarps to keep out rain.

Done for another year! This isn’t all that can be done but I do feel better and don’t feel so helpless.