Archive for Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Officials offer advice on emergencies

All families should be prepared with supply kit, county official says

October 24, 2001

In the event of a disaster, natural or man-made, preparedness is vital.

And preparedness, said Chuck Magaha, is just as important at home as anywhere else.

Magaha, Leavenworth County emergency preparedness director, recommends that every household be ready for emergency situations.

"They should always be prepared," he said. "They shouldn't wait until an incident happens and then wonder what happened."

For starters, Magaha recommends that every household compile a 72-hour emergency supply kit. All family members should be aware of what is in it and should know where it is kept.

"If you take the recommendations that we have, you will for the most part be able to function for three days," Magaha said. "The 72-hour rule is based on if there's a major event, it could take up to three days before public safety officials could get to you."

Also, Magaha said, residents should establish an area of the house that could be used for a shelter. This should be a room in which windows, doors and ductwork could be sealed off with tape and plastic to prevent outside air from entering.

Magaha said the ideal location of the room would vary, depending on the threat.

For instance, he said, chlorine gas is heavier than air, and if there were a spill of that, residents who go to basements for shelter could be hurt. And, because anhydrous ammonia is lighter than air, if there were a large leakage of this, a basement might be the best place to take shelter.

"If we had a hazardous materials incident in Tonganoxie, we wouldn't want people to come rushing out of their homes," Magaha said. "We would want them to be safe in their homes."

Frankie Jackson, administrative director of the Leavenworth County Health Department, said it's always wise to keep needed supplies on hand that could serve a family for at least a week.

And she said, it's always wise to keep on hand a 30-day supply of medications normally taken by household members.

Moderation is the key, she said.

"As far as getting a whole bunch of stuff stockpiled, the KDHE and CDC are really not recommending it," Jackson said.

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