The North Lincoln Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) works to help the community be prepared for disasters and various emergencies. One concern often heard is how overwhelming it seems to take all the steps needed to be prepared for a disaster. To address that issue North Lincoln CERT has embarked on a 52-Week Personal Preparedness Challenge.

There are two components to being prepared for emergencies and one aids the other. The first is practical preparedness: actually having the tools, resources, and skills needed to respond and adapt to emergencies; and the other is psychological: simply knowing that, no matter what happens, you can handle it.

Practical preparedness starts with having the right tools at hand, and for our 52-Week Personal Preparedness Challenge, that starts with an Emergency Kit.

Filling up the kit will come throughout our year-long challenge, but we’ll start this week with just getting the containers. Start with 5-gallon buckets. You probably have one or two tucked away someplace, but they are inexpensive and available at hardware and home improvement stores for just a few bucks. Some ice cream shops have been known to give their empty ones away (if you ask nicely and buy lots of ice cream). Make sure you get buckets that have tight fitting lids; resealable gamma lids can be ordered online.

You’ll want a bucket that is the main household kit, and then a separate bucket for each family member. For example, young children will need a bucket that will contain items specific to them, such as simple toys, comforting blanket, children’s medicine, etc. You’ll also want a bucket for your pets because they too will have special needs in an emergency.

Clean your buckets well and clearly label them and place them near a door where you can grab them quickly in an emergency, such as in the garage where you park your car or in a coat closet near an exit.

You may instead choose a backpack or even a suitcase with wheels and extending handle if carrying buckets full of supplies is unrealistic.

Once you have your kit containers in place, it’s just a matter of stocking them, which we’ll get to in the coming months.

For more information on emergency preparedness and our local Community Emergency Response Team, please contact JoDana Bright Taylor, NLC CERT public information officer, at jodana@charter.net or at 541-994-2700.

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