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Have these items on hand, in case of emergency

By The Health News Team | October 16, 2019
Have these items on hand, in case of emergency

Along with death and taxes, wildfires are unfortunately a part of life — especially for those of us who live in Southern California. What was once a seasonal danger has now turned into a year-round threat.

With hundreds of miles of scrub brush and canyons rimmed with homes and businesses, it takes mere moments for an ember to jump a road or race up or down a hillside, putting dozens or thousands of structures — and people — at risk.

Should you get the call to leave your home, it is crucial to have a thorough and swift evacuation plan at the ready. Moreover, if your power is turned off — as has been happening with more frequency in Southern California — it is imperative to take the necessary steps to ensure you are ready for any circumstance.

If forced to evacuate your home during a wildfire, experts urge us to remember the six P’s:

  • People and pets

  • Papers, phone numbers and important documents

  • Prescriptions, vitamins and eyeglasses

  • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia

  • Personal computer hard drives and disks

  • Plastic (credit or debit cards) and cash

However, there is a seventh “P” — Provisions — that must be added to this list. Being prepared with nutritious, healthy food items is essential. Instead of picking up candy bars, a box of sugary treats or some beef jerky at the neighborhood corner store, stock your pantry with healthy, nutritious items in case it is necessary to vacate your home or if your power is turned off.

“Maintaining a good supply of nutritious food items, such as cans of beans, bags of dried beans and lentils, is very important in an emergency situation,” says Dr. Angie Neison, a family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, and an expert in culinary medicine. “They can be supplemented by canned vegetables, nuts, seeds and dried fruit.”
Other shelf-stable items that should be part of your pantry, says Dr. Neison, include:

  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, bulgar or farro

  • Oatmeal

  • Nut butters, such as peanut butter, almond butter and tahini

  • Whole-grain crackers

  • Coconut milk

  • Granola

  • High-fiber, low-sugar snack bars

A can opener, utensils and a portable grill definitely come in handy. “And don’t forget spices, such as onion, garlic powder and chiles, as they can turn an ordinary meal into something flavorful and special,” says Dr. Neison.

Learn more about building a
wildfire action plan, and the importance of preparing your pets for emergencies.

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