Get prepped for future emergencies during National Preparedness Month

Published on September 08, 2021

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I have worked in the fire service in Southern Arizona for over 40 years. In that time, I have had the privilege to help people in their time of need. I have also observed many emergency situations that were mitigated by people’s efforts to be prepared. In some instances, emergencies are completely avoided because people took the proper steps to be informed and take action. Their preparedness made all the difference.  

September is National Preparedness Month. Are you and your family prepared for a major disaster? There are many ways that you and your family can be better prepared for emergencies, but most people still confess that they have not taken the necessary steps to empower themselves with the essential materials needed to survive for up to 72 hours. Golder Ranch Fire District would like to charge the public with the task of creating a 72-hour preparedness kit for their families. 

Items to pack in your 72-hour preparedness kit:

  • Water (3 gallons per person to last 72 hours)
  • Food (e.g. ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, infant food, pet food, etc.)
  • First aid kit (e.g. bandages, anti-bacterial ointment, cold packs, antiseptic wipes, etc.)
  • Medicine (e.g. prescription drugs, aspirin, anti-diarrhea medication, etc.)
  • Tools and supplies (e.g. cups, plates, plastic utensils, battery powered radio and extra batteries, flashlight with extra batteries, scissors, etc.)
  • Sanitation items (e.g. soap, toilet paper, garbage bags)
  • Clothing and bedding (e.g. rain gear, hats and gloves, etc.)
  • Baby items (e.g. formula, diapers, bottles, etc.)

There are steps you can take to increase the safety for the exterior of your home as well. You should clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves and debris that could catch embers and replace or repair any loose or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration. You can also reduce embers that could pass through vents in the eaves by installing metal mesh screening. Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors such as mulch, flammable plants, leaves, firewood piles—anything that can burn. If you live in an area that is adjacent to wildland/open space, make sure you create a defensible space of at least 30 feet. A defensible space is where vegetation is kept to a minimum combustible mass. A guideline for this can be described as “low, lean and green.” Lastly, remove anything stored underneath decks or porches. 

One final word of advice: Be sure to stay informed about emergency events happening in your neighborhood by signing up community emergency alert systems. For Oro Valley alerts, visit and search for CODE RED. For Marana alerts, visit and search for ALERTS. For Pima County alerts, visit and search for MYALERTS.

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