‘Tis the season to give the gift of emergency preparedness!
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: December 19, 2012
It’s the holidays, and time to think about giving the gift of emergency preparedness - something even that impossible-to-buy-for loved one will appreciate.
Come to think of it, why not ask others to give you holiday gifts that are must haves during an emergency?
‘Tis the season to be jolly, but not forget about the ever-present specter of emergency from earthquake to flood: “It’s not if disaster strikes, but when,” said Fire Captain Steve Lazenby, the city’s Emergency Preparedness coordinator.
Giving gifts of self-reliance really shows you care: “They can be anything from flashlights to freeze-dried foods,” those staples of three-day emergency kits that should be on hand with enough supplies for each member of the family. Canned goods and of course a can opener, bottled water, food and snacks for Fido and Kitty are good to have on hand, as are those that can be used even if there isn’t a disaster.
Lazenby said, “Many things that can be part of an emergency supply can be used for regular outings and camping activities - like sleeping bags or tents. A hand-crank radio with AM/FM/NOAA Weather would be a good gift,” as would “family type walkie-talkie radios, extra batteries, First Aid kit and tools such as hammers, pliers, pry bars or just a wrench for turning off the gas at the gas meter.”
Need a joke gift that actually serves a purpose? “A real favorite of my family - a few years ago - was the toilet seat that fits on top of a five-gallon bucket.”
You can even buy assembled emergency kits, but, noted Lazenby, “Most people like to shop and everything you would need for a kit you can get right here in town... so you can help people prepare for an emergency and Shop Santa Paula. We’ve got more than enough stores,” from Heritage Ace Hardware and Frank’s Paint & Hardware to Kmart, drug stores and outlets such as Big Lots, where items perfect for an emergency kit can be purchased.
You can even purchase a decorative box from finer stores for someone to store copies of their important paperwork! An added bonus is that locally purchased goods increase local tax revenues, which of course fund Santa Paula public safety and other services.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some nifty devices not locally available for those high tech lovers, such as the BioLite Campstove that generates charger power. The website is www.biolitestove.com (or watch the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnfV_3LM5l8).
Lazenby is always on the hunt for devices that would come in handy during an emergency, and he came across the innovative GravityLight at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/282006. The GravityLight is initially being developed for use in Third World countries and of course later will be available for all who want a reliable, simple, inexpensive and completely standalone source of light.
“Why,” said Lazenby, “didn’t I think of that?”