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Emergency Planning Begins With a Backpack

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Nancy Burns, coordinator of the Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps. and David Nichols, coordinator of the Greater River Valley Medical Reserve Corps. The two are displaying the contents of an emergency preparedness starter kit. COURTESY PHOTO
Nancy Burns, coordinator of the Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps. and David Nichols, coordinator of the Greater River Valley Medical Reserve Corps. The two are displaying the contents of an emergency preparedness starter kit. COURTESY PHOTO

 

With the 16th anniversary of 9/11 just around the corner, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey fresh in everyone’s mind and Hurricane Irma bearing down on us, emergency planning is a foremost consideration this week.

Ironically, the federal Department of Homeland Security has deemed September National Emergency Preparedness Month, so what better time to plan for a crisis?

Westford’s Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps has emergency preparedness starter backpacks that can be purchased from the town’s Health Department. Inside are such items as a toothbrush and toothpaste, water packets and bottles, canvas working gloves, foil blankets, a poncho, a whistle, a crank radio and a first aide kit.

MRC Coordinator Nancy Burns said residents can assemble their own bags by considering the type of emergency for which they’re planning. Burns suggested checking the websites of the American Red Cross and 72.org.

“There’s a lot of information available,” she said. The Red Cross offers an emergency app to help users monitor conditions in their area and prepare their families for evacuating or sheltering in place.

Here’s what the Red Cross provides in its emergency starter kit for $49.45 each:

List of Contents:

  • Handled Bag w/ Removable Pouches (First Aid Kit and Personal Items Comfort Kit)
  • Battery Powered Flashlight – 7 LED Bulbs
  • 2 D Batteries
  • Battery Powered AM/FM Radio
  • 3 AA Batteries
  • Emergency Blanket Reflective, 4.5′ x 7′
  • First Aid Kit
    • 5 Adhesive Bandages, 3/4″ x 3″
    • 1 Fingertip Bandages Fabric
    • 1 Knuckle Bandages Fabric
    • 2 Triple Antibiotic Packets, 0.9 grams
    • 2 Hand Sanitizer, 0.9oz
    • 1 Adhesive Bandage, 2″ x 4″
    • 1 Sterile Abdominal Pad, 5″ x 9″
    • 1 Nitrile Gloves (pair)
    • 1 Rolled Gauze, 3″ x 5 yds (wrapped)
    • 3 Sterile Gauze Pads, 3″ x 3″
    • 1 First Aid Tape, 1″ x 2.5 yds
    • 1 Scissors
    • 2 BZK Towelettes Bulk
    • 1 First Aid Guide
  • Datrex Food Packets Total of 2,400 Cal  (5 year shelf life, approved by U.S.C.G.)
  • Comfort Sub Kit – Includes: Toothbrush & Toothpaste, Hair and Body Shampoo, Lotion, Soap, Deodorant, 12×12 Wash Cloth, Comb
  • Procedural Breathing Mask
  • Rain Poncho (adult sized)
  • Datrex Water Pouches Total of 2 Quarts  (5 year shelf life, approved by U.S.C.G.)
  • Hard Plastic “Pealess” Whistle
  • Contents Label in the Backpack