FORT EUSTIS, Va. (September 23, 2009) -- With the end of September approaching, National Preparedness Month is drawing to a close. That doesn't mean, however, that staying prepared for hazards, manmade or natural, comes to an end.

According to Ken Kelley, Fort Eustis Ready Army coordinator and former Boy Scout, being prepared for emergencies is an ongoing need.

"Everyone should practice the Boy Scout motto everyday: Be prepared," said Kelley.
Ready Army is an emergency preparedness and awareness program aimed at Soldiers, their families and civilian employees to prepare them for all hazards. The program centers around three key actions: Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

An emergency kit should last for each member of the family for up to three days. Emergency kits should be kept at home as well as other areas the family spends most of its time, like the car and work place. These kits will enable you and your family to respond to an emergency more quickly, whether you have to shelter-in-place or evacuate. Also take into consideration whether your area is likely to face a specific threat, and purchase items accordingly.

Items to include are:

Aca,!Ac Water

Aca,!Ac Nonperishable Food

Aca,!Ac Manual can opener

Aca,!Ac Clothes

Aca,!Ac First aid kit

Aca,!Ac Prescription medications and medical equipment/care aids

Aca,!Ac N95- or N100-rated dust masks

Aca,!Ac Personal sanitation supplies

Aca,!Ac Flashlight

Aca,!Ac Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and cell phone charger

Aca,!Ac Extra batteries

Aca,!Ac Cash

Aca,!Ac Any tools needed for turning off utilities

Aca,!Ac Local maps and your family emergency plan

Aca,!Ac Your command reporting information

Aca,!Ac Important documents

Aca,!Ac Matches

When creating a family emergency plan, be informed and consider the range of potential emergencies and all the places you and your family might be. Some emergencies require different responses than others, but a family communications procedure will let your family know how to keep in touch and find one another when emergencies strike.

When establishing a family emergency plan, it is important to remember the following:

Aca,!Ac Know your installation's evacuation procedure.

Aca,!Ac As a family, discuss where you will go in the event of an emergency.

Aca,!Ac Plan how you will evacuate family members with special needs.

Aca,!Ac Include pets in your family plan.

Aca,!Ac Save "In Case of Emergency" or ICE information on everyone's cell phone.

Aca,!Ac Set up practice evacuations or shelter-in-place drills for your family to ensure everyone knows what to do.

The last action, to be informed, is critical in responding appropriately and timely to an emergency. Be familiar with mass warning systems and where emergency shelters are located. Fort Eustis community members can visit for up-to-date information on hazards, manmade or natural.

For more information and to obtain Ready Army fact sheets, family emergency plan guides, emergency kit checklists, parent/teacher guides and kids' material, posters, interactive briefings, public service announcements, brochures, and more, visit

"The increased threat of terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction and naturally occurring crises and disasters demonstrate the need for comprehensive preparedness efforts in advance of any emergency," said Kelley. "Readiness begins with awareness. All citizens need to be well-informed and prepared for emergencies."