Washoe County Emergency Management calls on residents to be ready for a natural disaster

September is National Preparedness Month
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 12:00 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - As wildfires, floods and extreme heat waves continue to affect many in our region, the Washoe County Emergency Management is reminding residents to prepare.

September is National Preparedness Month and the perfect time to create escape plans, go-bags and make arrangements for pet care.

“It’s not a matter of ‘if’ it’s ‘when’,” said Kelly Echeverria, emergency manager for Washoe County.

Preparedness tips include having a kit, a plan and staying informed.

“We all did fire drills as a kid in school but what does that look like for your family?” said Echeverria. “If you have a meeting place within your neighborhood, outside of your neighborhood, you all know whom to call long distance or close by, and then staying informed so knowing where to go for information.”

While you can buy basic emergency kits at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot, you can also do it yourself.

“Duct tape is everyone’s best friend, light sticks, whistle,” said Echeverria while showcasing an emergency kit.

Some of the basics you should store in it include water, non-perishable food, first aid and sanitation supplies, as well as tools.

Echeverria, who was evacuated during the Pine Haven Fire said, it’s also important to think about comfort and what you use on a daily basis.

“It was helpful to have important documents and things ready to go, in an easily accessible area that I can just throw in the car, we had kits for our pets,” she said.

When it comes to finding supplies, the camping option at Shelly’s Hardware store in Sparks may be of help.

Store manager, Kathy Tester told KOLO8 News Now that they have many items like emergency blankets, can openers, flashlights, propane cans and water carriers.

“Even the little things that you can do, if you can’t afford a kit, just taking some clothes from your closet and putting it in a bag, taking a screenshot of your vital information.”

Because mental health is also important, it‘s recommended to add some items for entertainment like books or games.

According to the state’s website, “the emergency supply kit should be robust and contain enough food, water, medications and other consumables to last up to seven to ten days.”

For tips on how to create a disaster plan, click here.