In the event of a storm or natural disaster, it may take several hours or even days for first responders to reach everyone. Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones could be cut off for a prolonged period.
First responder and EMS crews, such as those at Kunkel Ambulance, are trained and prepared to respond during a disaster. During National Emergency Preparedness Month, Kunkel Ambulance urges families and individuals to create a plan of action and stock a 72-hour emergency kit.
“It is impossible to fully predict when an emergency situation will occur,” said Randy Sutherland, director of operations for Kunkel Ambulance. “We hope that your family will never have to execute an emergency plan, but if an event does occur, you will be glad you got ready before it happened.”
In an emergency, communication is key since family members may not be together when disaster strikes. Determine in advance how everyone will communicate. Identify an out-of-town relative or friend as a point of contact, since it sometimes may be easier to make a long-distance connection than to call across town. Family members should also use text messaging, as these messages are more likely to go through than phone calls.
Many phone carriers provide instant text alerts or emails to warn of impending severe weather and local emergencies. Local emergency management agencies can send alerts for those registered, and newer smartphones are configured to automatically receive WEAs (wireless emergency alerts) issued through the carrier.
Kunkel Ambulance recommends keeping these items stocked in the emergency kit:
- One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
- At least a three-day supply of nonperishable food
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener if kit contains canned foods
- Local map
- Cell phone with back-up batteries or wireless charger
Additional items to consider include prescription medication and glasses; infant formula and diapers; pet food and extra water for pet(s); weather-appropriate clothing; important documents; matches; and activities for children.
The most common natural disasters are heat waves, drought, floods, earthquakes, severe storms, wildfires, winter weather and hurricanes. Emergency preparedness kits also can be used to prepare for other disasters, such as terrorist attacks, hazardous material spills or power service interruptions.
“People involved in an emergency situation often thought it would never happen to them or their community,” Sutherland said. “We can’t predict with certainty where emergencies will happen, but we can educate our communities to be ready. Families should update their emergency plan at least once per year, and National Emergency Preparedness Month is a great opportunity to do that.”
About Kunkel Ambulance
Since 1939, Kunkel Ambulance has provided excellent emergency and nonemergency ambulance services in the City of Utica and Oneida County in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York and provides mutual aid service to a large portion of Oneida and Herkimer counties. Every Kunkel ambulance is staffed with highly skilled, certified paramedics and EMTs who are trained in the latest lifesaving technology and emergency protocols.
Kunkel Ambulance is a regional branch of the national Priority Ambulance network.