The tragic events at the Boston Marathon serve as a reminder that we should always be prepared to safeguard our family and home during an emergency. The best way to prepare for any emergency is to prepare an emergency supply kit, have a family emergency plan, and keep informed.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) shares the following compilation of preparedness and safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and American Red Cross.

1. Create a household disaster kit. Since electricity, water, gas and telephones may not be working during an emergency, you should be prepared to fend for yourself for at least one week. This kit should hold at least a one-week supply of the following items:
• Drinking water (minimum one gallon per person per day).
• First aid supplies, medications, medical consent forms for dependents spare eyeglasses, and essential hygiene items, such as soap, toothpaste and toilet paper.
• Emergency lighting—light sticks and (or) a working flashlight with extra batteries and light bulbs (hand-powered flashlights are also available).
• Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location).
• A hand-cranked or battery-operated radio (and spare batteries).
• Canned and packaged food, including snack foods high in calories and cooking utensils, including a manual can opener.
• Warm clothing, sturdy shoes, extra socks, blankets, and perhaps even a tent.
• Heavy-duty plastic bags for waste and to serve other uses, such as tarps and rain ponchos.
• Work gloves and protective goggles.
• Pet food and pet restraints.
• Copies of vital documents, such as insurance policies and personal identification.
• Cash in small bills.
• Comfort items, such as games, crayons, writing materials, and teddy bears.
• A pipe wrench to turn off gas or water
NOTE: Replace perishable items like water, food, medications, and batteries on a yearly basis.

2. Have a family emergency plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance.
• Consider locations you frequent and have a plan for each location.
• Choose an out-of-state friend or relative to call and alert other relatives and friends that you are all right. Be sure every family member knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.

3. Keep Informed. Subscribe to an alert service. AlertSCC is a free and easy way for anyone who lives or works in Santa Clara County to get emergency warnings sent directly to their cell phone, mobile device, email, or landline. To receive alerts, register with the system at http://www.alertscc.com/.

For more information on emergency preparedness and prevention tips, visit
http://www.ready.gov/today or http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family.

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