Emergency Kits as Gifts

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 711, FAX 703-324-2010

Dec. 5, 2005

Emergency Preparedness Kits Make the Perfect Holiday Gift

If you are still searching for that perfect holiday gift for the person who has everything, you may want to consider the gift of preparedness. An emergency preparedness kit is the perfect gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list.

“Emergency preparedness kits add peace of mind to anyone who has them,” says Doug Bass, Fairfax County’s emergency management coordinator. “Whether you go to the store and buy items individually and assemble your own kit or you purchase a prepackaged kit from organizations such as the American Red Cross, you and your family will be much better prepared to handle an emergency or crisis situation.”

Emergency preparedness kits can be customized to meet your individual needs and preferences, but should at a minimum include a three-day supply of food and water. These kits might not provide all the supplies you might need in an emergency, but should be designed to provide the basics to sustain you and your family for at least three days should an emergency or disaster occur.

And with the approaching new year also comes the inevitable New Year’s resolutions. Unlike starting an exercise routine or shedding 20 pounds, getting prepared is a resolution that’s fairly easy to accomplish and one that will prepare you and your family in case of severe weather, loss of electricity or potential terrorist incidents.

Emergency preparedness kits should include the following items:

  • Food – such as energy bars; ready-to-eat canned meals, fruits and vegetables; peanut butter; crackers; trail mix; canned milk or soup; comfort foods, such as hard candy, cookies, sweetened cereal, instant coffee.
  • Water – a minimum of one gallon per person per day (two quarts for drinking and two quarts for food preparation/sanitation) – stored in plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles. Do not store water in glass containers.
  • Flashlight and battery-operated radio, with extra batteries.
  • Medications – both prescription and nonprescription; vitamins.
  • First-aid kit – include bandages, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment packages, aspirin, gauze, scissors, first-aid instruction materials.
  • Personal hygiene items – toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, soap, contact lens solution, feminine supplies.
  • Clothing and bedding – at least one change of clothes and shoes for each person; sturdy shoes or boots; rain gear; sleeping bags; blankets.
  • Sanitation – items such as toilet paper; towelettes; hand sanitizer; disinfectant; plastic bags with ties; household chlorine bleach.
  • Other supplies – paper plates, cups and plastic utensils; aluminum foil; plastic storage containers; matches in a waterproof container; map; wrench (to turn off gas and water connections); non-electric can opener; cash, change or traveler’s checks; paper, pens and pencils.
  • Special items – games or books; important family documents – such as insurance policies, passports, important telephone numbers, family records, etc. – stored in a waterproof, portable container; any supplies for people with disabilities or special needs and for infants or the elderly.
  • Communication plan – an important part of any kit is to include a family communication plan, with all important phone numbers and contact information. This will speed up your ability to communicate with family and friends in the event of an emergency.

Residents also should prepare an emergency preparedness kit in each vehicle they own. Emergency kits for the car or truck don’t have to be as inclusive as those in the home, but should include items such as a cell phone, blankets or sleeping bags, water, high-calorie foods that don’t require refrigeration or cooking, a flashlight with extra batteries and a first-aid kit.

For more details on emergency preparedness kits, contact the Office of Emergency Management at 703-324-2362, TTY 711, or visit the Fairfax County emergency information Web page at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency.

During times of emergency or severe weather, residents may call the Fairfax County Government Emergency Information Line at 703-817-7771, TTY 711, watch the county government cable television Channel 16 or visit the county Web site for updated information.

Residents also are encouraged to sign up to receive emergency alerts, notifications and updates on the Community Emergency Alert Network. CEAN alerts may include personal safety, weather, major accidents involving utilities or roadways, or disaster notification such as a terrorist attack. In addition, residents can register for any or all of the additional CEAN alert categories: severe weather 24/7; severe weather 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; severe traffic disruptions and county government closings/schedule changes. Messages will be delivered to e-mail accounts, cell phones (text messaging costs may apply; check with your service provider), text pagers, satellite phones and wireless PDAs that are registered on the system. To register, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cean.


To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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