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 Priority Ambulance, are trained and prepared to respond during a disaster. During National Emergency Preparedness Month, Priority Ambulance urges families and individuals to create a plan of action and stock a 72-hour emergency kit.
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.
Priority 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.
About Priority Ambulance:
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Priority Ambulance provides the highest level of clinical excellence in emergency and nonemergency medical care to the communities it serves. Throughout its national service area, more than 600 highly trained paramedics, EMTs and telecommunicators staff approximately 100 state-of-the-art ambulances with the latest medical equipment and technology.
Priority Ambulance provides emergency and nonemergency medical transport options to communities in Tennessee, Alabama, New York, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Operating as Priority Ambulance, the company serves Knox, Loudon and Blount counties in East Tennessee. Priority Ambulance operates as Kunkel Ambulance in Utica, N.Y.; as Trans Am Ambulance in Olean, N.Y.; as Shoals Ambulance in Alabama; and as Seals Ambulance in the Greater Indianapolis area.