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Are you as ready as you think for a disaster?

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SALT LAKE CITY — Millions of people will be without power and other comforts of home for quite a while because of the storm. How would you handle such a situation if Utah had a major power outage or disaster? A KSL reporter asked himself that question and found he was not as prepared as he could have been.

After seeing all the damage on TV all day, KSL's Keith McCord thought to himself, "I have a small solar-powered generator, and some food and lights, and some other stuff. But could I find it all, and get it working?"

So he put himself to the test, and found that, like many people, he could have been better prepared.

McCord had a couple flashlights in his office, but one of the batteries was old, and the rechargeable flashlight wasn't fully charged. It did give him enough light to get to the basement and get his food supply and a lantern.

Luckily, he had a fully charged solar power generator and a portable TV he would use to keep track of what was going on — as long as TV stations were still up and running.

He had enough water — 10 gallons in the garage and extra in the basement — and dried, emergency food pouches.

Building an emergency kit:
  • You may have to evacuate at a moment's notice. Depending on your location and the scope of the disaster, some supplies — such as food and water — may be readily available elsewhere. Be aware of your location and pack food, water and first aid supplies accordingly.
  • Prescription medication, glasses, personal hygiene items and pet food can all be easily forgotten in the rush of the moment, but will be needed later.
  • Cash and important documents should be kept in a reachable place.
  • If possible, keep an extra phone charger in your kit, so you won't have to scramble when the time comes to evacuate.
  • FEMA keeps a detailed list of recommended emergency kit supplies on the agency's website.

He said what he had only took care of the basics, but "at least I'm not in the dark and I can eat and keep track of the latest news and information."

Are you prepared?

Utahns are fortunate not to have to worry about hurricanes — and usually, tornadoes — but there are all manner of disasters for which everyone should be prepared. Taking extra steps means peace of mind during safe times and could be life saving during emergencies.

  • Be informed: know what to do before, during and after a disaster.
    • Make a plan: consider circumstances specific to your family and adjust accordingly.
    • Educate: Make sure every member of the family knows what the plan is and how to execute it.
  • Build a kit: experts recommend a gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, and a three-day supply of nonperishable food, on top of other necessities.

FEMA gives advice for preparing for a variety of disasters Utahns may see, such as flooding or earthquakes. Preparing your home for a variety of emergencies will require a few extra steps, but they say being smart before, during and after a disaster is about being informed and having a plan.

Video: Keith McCord

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