ALLReady, Set: A Source for Preparedness
December 15, 2015
It’s December and 60 degrees outside, and the furthest thing from anybody's mind is an emergency occurring on an epidemic scale. Nevertheless, it’s always good to be prepared because if something does happen, you want to be ready. That’s what co-founder Lauren Bernard and her partner Tim Hoffman, EMS first responder, thought when they developed ALLReady, Set.
Our goal is to be able to take care of yourself for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency. “We all know once a disaster happens it’s too late to prepare,” said Bernard.
So why is it that 86 percent of those who took a Chapman University student survey believe an emergency supply kit would improve their chances of surviving a disaster, yet 72 percent have made no effort to put one together? The Chapman University student Sheri Ledbetter indicates that the number one reason given by those surveyed for not owning an emergency kit is that the majority expect first responders to come to their aid. “This is an unrealistic belief in the wake of a major disaster,” says the flyer.
“Our goal is to try to reduce the 72 percent of people who have not taken the steps,” said Bernard, “so they are ready in the event of the unexpected.”
As a paramedic, Hoffman is on call for national emergencies. He has experience in emergency response as a Critical Care Transport Paramedic for New York First Presbyterian EMS Hospital where he transfers patients who are too sick for their hospital location. He also has worked as an instructor at the FDNY bureau of training and simulation training center as the coordinator at New York Presbyterian EMS. He was a 9/11 responder in 2001 at the World Trade Center and in 2005 he responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. As a proponent for readiness and expecting the unexpected, Hoffman has been on the scene of many disasters where people have been unprepared.
During the 2012 Super Storm Sandy, Bernard was left alone with her three children. She realized then that she had to be ready for a disaster. In the process of making an emergency kit she was overwhelmed because the kit turned out to be as heavy as a body bag. She said she would never expect anyone else to replicate that.
The ALLReady Set team has worked with North Castle Citizen’s Corp Council (NC4), a volunteer group under the Town’s Emergency Management Plan, to develop disaster readiness kits that coincide with the guidelines set by the Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA). See www.ready.gov
ALLReady Set sells a number of different emergency kits that are intended to provide emergency supplies for the home; for severe weather where evacuation is needed; for in the car if caught on the road; and for family pets.
“Hopefully you will never need them,” said Bernard, “but everyone should have at least one kit to carry in the car.”
Over the last three years there have been many incidents where people got stuck in their cars overnight during a blizzard where they could not be reached, she added. “If you had a Roadside Emergency Kit in the car, wouldn’t you feel better knowing your child is safe if something happened?” she asked.
The kit includes: jumper cables, a seat-belt cutter, a window puncher, rain gear, tarps, 24-hour body warmers, a mylar sleeping bag, 24-hour candles, water, food (nut free bars), and a glow stick that can be hung inside the car to indicate someone is in there. The FEMA food, which contains protein and carbohydrates, and the bottled water have a shelf life of five years. A reminder will be sent when these items expire with an offer of a refresher kit.
The Bucket Style Emergency Kit for at home is recommended for our local area because it is less likely that we would have to evacuate. The Bucket Kit comes with food and water, and an all-in-one flashlight-cell phone-radio charger that runs on cranked power. There are emergency mylar blankets which retain 90% of body heat. You can also hang the green light sticks in the window to alert someone that you are in the house. There’s a loud whistle to alert someone of your presence if you are in a difficult situation. There are dust masks, ponchos for bad weather if you must go outside, waterproof matches, water purification tools, a gas shut-off wrench, gloves to protect your hands, and emergency candles, all in waterproof containers. In addition, there is a portable toilet seat with bags of toilet chemicals in cases when the well doesn’t function during an extended power outage.
Essential personal information should also be easily available, said Bernard. There’s a family communication plan sheet to include contact information, out-of-town contact info, a plan for a regional meeting place, work and school information, your doctor and veterinarian’s names and numbers. This should be folded up in a ziplock bag and placed with the kit. They recommend that clients add identification, cash, diapers and medication, as needed.
After Hurricane Katrina, Hoffman went to New Orleans where there were thousands of abandoned animals because people were not prepared and didn’t know what to do with their pets. The Pet Emergency Kit is intended for dogs and cats for shelter in place. It includes food, two pop-up bowls, a dog toy, a leash, and an animal first-aid kit.
There is Severe Weather Emergency Kits for when people have to evacuate.
They plan to branch out with fire safety items and for now offer a two-story fire escape ladder and fire protective blankets.
The emergency kits are intended to serve every family member and prices are based upon family sizes. For more information, please visit allreadyset.com
Tim likes to be prepared and says, “99 out of 100 times it’s going to be a horse, and one time it is going to be a zebra. We are trained to look for the zebra.”