State police: Give the gift of preparedness

Don’t overlook practical gifts this holiday. Among the suggestions from the Michigan State Police are emergency preparedness kits for the home and your vehicle. (Pioneer photo/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

Submitted to the Pioneer

LANSING — The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to help friends and family prepare for any type of emergency or disaster. The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is suggesting five emergency preparedness gifts worth adding to the shopping list this holiday season.

“Giving preparedness items as gifts is always a great idea,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “It provides peace of mind knowing those you care about will be better prepared in an emergency or disaster.”

• Holiday Preparedness Gift No. 1: Emergency Preparedness Kits

When disaster strikes, power could be out and gas and water may not be available, making a fully-stocked emergency preparedness kit a necessity. At a minimum, every household should have a kit that contains food, water, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, clothing and a blanket. A recommended checklist of emergency kit items can be found at michigan.gov/miready.

An emergency preparedness kit for your vehicle is also a good idea, in case an emergency occurs while traveling. An auto emergency kit should include nonperishable, high-energy foods such as granola bars, canned nuts and trail mix, as well as a blanket. It could save your life and the lives of your passengers.

A preparedness kit can be made or purchased online for as little as $40.

• Holiday Preparedness Gift No. 2: LED Emergency Hand Crank Lantern

During a power outage, an emergency hand crank lantern can provide a light source with just 60 seconds of cranking. Most emergency hand crank lanterns also have the option to run power from a battery source or utilize solar power.

Prices range from $10 to $40 at hardware stores and online retailers.

• Holiday Preparedness Gift Idea No. 3: Mobile Phone Battery Charger

Mobile phones are great to have in an emergency, but when the power goes out, a mobile phone cannot be charged. A mobile phone battery charger solves this problem. Some models can charge multiple devices at once and are combined with an emergency flashlight.

Prices range from $15 to $80.

• Holiday Preparedness Gift Idea No. 4: Water Filtration Bottle

A water filtration bottle that removes particles and bacteria can be used in an emergency or during routine outdoor recreational activities to provide clean drinking water.

Prices range from $20 to $60 and can be purchased online or at outdoor recreation stores.

• Holiday Preparedness Gift Idea No. 5: Disaster Preparedness Books for Kids

Disasters are scary. Knowing what to do can help reduce your children’s fears during an emergency. A disaster preparedness book can teach children about emergency plans in place at home, school or while traveling. These types of books also allow children to participate in their own personal preparedness.

A free, printable disaster preparedness activity book can be downloaded at michigan.gov/miready or check with your local emergency management agency to see if they offer any preparedness books for kids.

For more information on how to prepare before, during and after an emergency, visit www.michigan.gov/miready or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.

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