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Vanderbilt partners with company to offer discounted emergency preparedness kits

Mar. 27, 2013, 4:07 PM

Family disaster kits should contain enough provisions for two or three days away from home. (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University is partnering with an industrial supply company to offer Vanderbilt employees discounted grab-and-go emergency preparedness kits—bags stocked with essential items that would be needed in the event of a tornado, flood or other emergency that might take people away from their homes.

“We feel like everyone needs a disaster kit, essential things that would be needed if you had to run out of your home in the case of an emergency. They are quite common in California, where people have backpacks on their doorknobs in case of an earthquake,” said Pam Hoffner, director of Emergency Preparedness and Response at Vanderbilt.

The company, Grainger, offers several options, beginning at $79. The discounted kits include a variety of survival fanny packs, backpacks and kits containing rescue blankets, drinking water, bandages, high-calorie food packets, batteries, whistles, flashlights, radios, a hand-crank weather alert radio, an emergency response kit for 25 people and a portable generator.

Jeff Mangrum, administrative coordinator of Emergency Preparedness and Response, said that employees also can put together their own kits, backpacks or suitcases. “Think of it like a suitcase you would pack with enough provisions for two or three days if you or your loved one needed to be ready to go at a moment’s notice,” he said. “In this case, what would you need if you ended up in a Red Cross shelter or in a tent in the middle of a field?”

Hoffner and Mangrum said among essential items, a kit should contain:

  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • A radio
  • Antiseptic wipes or hand cleanser
  • Bandages
  • Bottled water and packaged, canned or dried foods
  • A manual can opener
  • A change of clothes and shoes
  • Medication (both prescription and nonprescription medication, such as pain relievers, upset stomach and diarrhea medication, cough and cold medication and fluids with electrolytes)
  • Medical information for you and your family (including a list of current medications, allergies and conditions)
  • Diapers and formula
  • Pet food and a leash
  • Important contact information
  • Copies of birth certificates and wills
  • A thermometer
  • Small garbage bags and toilet paper
  • Other personal hygiene items
  • Small bills and coins

There’s also a fair amount of preparation that can be done early on, including compiling crucial family information and copies of documents. Mangrum suggests preparing an emergency health information sheet for every member of your family. The sheet should include each person’s name, birth date, blood type, allergies, medical conditions, current medications and dosages, medical insurance information, insurance policy information and emergency contact information for someone both in and out of state.

Hoffner said that you should also store copies of important papers, such as birth certificates, tax information, health records and the deed to your home, in two places—one with a friend or family member in town, and the other with a friend or family member who lives out of state. She also recommends videotaping contents in your home, such as furniture and jewelry, and storing that video at a friend or family member’s home.

Mangrum recommends developing and practicing a family evacuation plan. “This is something that you think about in second or third grade, but then don’t think about again,” he said. “You can’t count on others for preparedness. You have to take responsibility to protect you and your loved ones.”

To view or purchase the kits from Grainger, visit “Tools and Resources for Families” on VUMC’s emergency preparedness website. Purchases must be shipped to the employee’s home address.

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