September marks National Preparedness Month in Alaska

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 8:18 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska is no stranger to natural disasters. In the past few years, our state has experienced some massive earthquakes, catastrophic wildfires and a deadly landslide. During National Preparedness Month, organizations and entities like the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management want to ensure all Alaskans have a plan in place for when a disaster strikes.

“Alaska’s really a place where we need to be a little more mindful about emergency preparedness and prepare a little bit harder,” said Jeremy Zidek, public information officer for the division. “We’re a long way from our supplies — most of the goods that come into our state that we see on our store shelves come through the Port of Anchorage, so we kind of have one single point of failure.”

Each week during National Preparedness Month focuses on different area. The focus this week is on building an emergency kit. Zidek said there’s two types of emergency kits — a go kit, and a shelter in place kit.

“A go kit is probably 24 to 48 hours of supplies, and it’s something you would keep near your front door,” he said. “So this would have some medication, a little bit of food and water, an extra change of clothes, some medication, (and) a flashlight — a small subset of what goes in that shelter in place kit that has two weeks of supplies.”

Zidek said to keep pets in mind when assembling emergency kits, and that people should also keep an indoor safe heat source handy for the winter. He emphasizes that preparation is key when it comes to natural disasters and large emergency events.

“The more people can prepare beforehand, the more likely they’ll be able to stay in their home, and the more resources and energy that we have to focus on restoring those critical services and getting things back to normal,” he said.

Zidek said it’s best to avoid candles as a light or heat source because of the risk of fires. Also, avoid putting perishable items in an emergency kit unless they are replaced as necessary.

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