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Campus Community Members Create Disaster Preparedness Kits

Emergency Supplies Intended to 'Get People Started'

May 8, 2012

Kyle Maust (right) gives starter kit emergency supplies to Trip Breen, swim coach and director of aquatics.

Kyle Maust (right) gives starter kit emergency supplies to Trip Breen, swim coach and director of aquatics.

A killer tornado in early March, a paralyzing ice storm in February and a hurricane in September all sound like disasters poised to happen somewhere else, but in the last four years, all of these weather-related emergencies — and others — have occurred in southwest Ohio.

With that in mind, Tara Lydy wanted to be prepared for the next time Mother Nature turns off the electricity, water and telephone service in her family’s home.

“These weather-related events were eye-opening for my family and me,” she said. “We want to raise awareness about being prepared and get people started.”

Lydy, the director of Wilmington College’s Center for Service and Civic Engagement, helped secure a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Grant that provided funding for the College’s MLK Day service project in January and this spring’s program centered upon disaster preparedness.

The College’s Grow Food, Grow Hope program teamed with the American Red Cross in training 10 college personnel to be Certified Red Cross Disaster Educator/Volunteers, several of whom put on workshops this spring designed to help prepare persons for challenging events that might include living without basic services for a few days.

Kyle Maust, an AmeriCorps*VISTA staff member at WC, presented the final disaster preparedness workshop of the semester April 30.

First, he and Lydy discussed some of the key elements of being prepared: (1) have a plan, (2) have a kit composed of necessities that can get one through three days and (3) know the facts.

Later, Maust passed out items that constitute a starter kit, including a plastic tub containing a flashlight, lighter/matches, duct tape, light blanket, water, snacks, sanitation and personal hygiene products, and a small first aid kit.

“This will get you started,” Maust said, noting families should decide together where they will meet in the case of an emergency — and to have an alternative location in the event the original one in inaccessible.

“Chances are good that land line and cell phone service will be interrupted, so having this planned ahead of time is important,” he added. “Also, you should share your emergency information with a responsible person who lives some distance away from you.

“Also, remember to make provisions for your pets.”

Maust said that organizations such as American Red Cross and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) have an abundance of planning materials. FEMA sponsors a preparedness Web site at www.ready.gov.