My peer group hasn’t been wistfully talking much lately about the way things used to be. No, for most of us in the golden years, whatever that means, the way things are this winter, reminds us too much of the way it used to be.

Cold mornings. Treacherous driveways. High prices for everything. No frivolous purchases. Sandwiches and tea luncheons at home, rather than one of those deep-fried delicacies.

Winter this year will be memorable. We might have to tough it out for a few days and with this in mind, I recently picked up the newest four-color folder on the Ready Campaign, part of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. This is a very small folder but includes important information, albeit in tiny print.

This folder reads, “Ready (Campaign) asks individuals to do three things: get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different kinds of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.”

Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.

We are advised in this folder to have some basic supplies on hand to survive for at least three days. In a column not too long ago, we addressed another agency’s suggested “need list,” but feel it may be appropriate to at least acknowledge all the work the Homeland Security team has done. Here, then, is the list recommended by the experts:

*Water – a gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation.

*Food – a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

*Radio – battery powered and a NOAA weather radio. Batteries for both.

*Flashlight – and extra batteries.

*First aid kit.

Whistle – to signal for help.

Dust mask – to help filter out contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties.

Wrench or pliers – to turn off utilities.

Can opener for food – if kit includes canned food.

Local maps.

Prescription medications and glasses.

Important family documents in a waterproof portable container.

Money.

Sleeping bag or blankets.

Complete change of clothing and appropriate clothing for climate.

Matches in a waterproof container.

Fire extinguisher.

Personal hygiene items, paper cups, plates, etc. and paper towels.

Pencil and paper; books, games, puzzles, cards.

While these all make sense, as I peruse the list, I can think of another item. Much as I hate cell phones, this might be a handy item to include. Maybe not, since I know very little about them.

Of course, families with children would need many other items (like disposable diapers!) and I imagine Homeland Security has a special list of emergency supplies for families.

To find out more, there is a Web site for those with Internet access: www.ready.gov.


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