Get Your Emergency Kit Ready

The monster Hurricane Frances, packing 145 mph winds, is on track to blast the densely populated coastal area of central Florida. More than 2.5 million coastal residents have been ordered to evacuate.

Can one really prepare for the onslaught of a hurricane? Marty Evans, president of the American Red Cross, talks to The Early Show about the Emergency Preparedness Kit the organization has prepared, which you can buy online for $49.95. It has useful items to help an adult survive for 3 days. The kit is packed in a heavy-duty and portable 420-Denier nylon red backpack (11" x 17" x 5").

It consists of:

  • Battery Powered Flashlight*
  • Battery Powered Radio*
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Emergency Preparedness Information Card
  • Food Bars (4,800 calories total)
  • Work Gloves (one pair)
  • Light Sticks (3 - each one lasts 12 hours)
  • Moist Towelettes (6)
  • A Breathing Mask (NIOSH-N95)
  • Plastic Sheeting (10' x 10')
  • Rain Poncho
  • Personal First Aid Kit
  • Roll of Duct Tape
  • Water (2 quarts)
  • Water Container (2.5 gallon)
  • Whistle
  • First Aid/Preparedness Instruction Booklet
    *Batteries Included
(Source: Red Cross Web site)

Your emergency kit needs to be tailord to your own family situation, Evans stresses.

Other useful tips the Red Cross suggests are:

  • Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan
  • Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places -a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
  • Keep handy the telephone numbers of these places as well as a road map of your locality. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Take these items with you when evacuating:
    • Prescription medications and medical supplies;
    • Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows
    • Bottled water, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, first aid kit, flashlight
    • Car keys and maps
    • Documents, including driver's license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.

  • Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Including the Following Items:
    • First Aid kit and essential medications.
    • Canned food and can opener.
    • At least three gallons of water per person.
    • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
    • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
    • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
    • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)

Besides damage from the storm surge, tornados often spawn from a hurricane, so Evans says it is important for you to be in a safe place.

She says, "The Red Cross already opened 62 shelters, last night, to shelter about 10,000 evacuees. We are opening more shelters in the east area out of the storm's projected path to shelter people so it's important to get to a place that has been designated as safe."