Emergencies don’t make appointments or come when expected. In our location, we have possibilities of many natural disasters, along with the international pandemic we are experiencing to get our attention. Are you prepared? One simple step is to Make A Plan. An emergency plan. Just in case something might happen, we can feel and be better able to help if we take simple steps.

Those extra bags and backpacks at our home could become an emergency kit or first aid bag. An emergency kit should have 72 hours of food and water to support one person. Three days is the estimated time it may take for emergency personnel to reach you or utilities to be restored.

Personal. These supplies go into my 72-hour bag. Consider what personal hygiene and medical items you will need. Have three days of your prescription medications in their original bottle. Soap, a wash cloth and a hairbrush or comb would be a minimum. If you can fit a toothbrush or other care items in, do so.

First Aid. Start with supplies you have at your own house. Sort them by type of supply. Check for expiration dates, tape is still sticky, Band-Aids still work, scissors, antiseptic, and package in waterproof resealable bags. Follow the suggested list provided at redcross.org

72-hour bag. I use a backpack with a waist strap so my hands can be free. Freeze dried or dehydrated foods, one refillable water bottle filled, a water filtration system, shelter, knife, shovel, duct tape, leather gloves, crank radio, LED flashlight, fire starting supplies, heat, wool socks and a hat make the base of my kit. Be sure to check the food in your kit biannually and replace expired food. Try the bag on once it is filled and walk around to see if the weight is okay for your ability. Most everyone can carry a bag, so include one for the children in your family as well.

Resources online include ready.gov, fema.gov, extensiondisaster.net and your local Extension office. Make a plan and be prepared.

Julie Buck, EdD, RDN, is a registered dietitian, who is employed as a Family and Consumer Sciences Educator at the University of Idaho Extension, Bingham County. She can be reached at jhbuck@uidaho.edu.