STONEHAM —Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Matthew Grafton and the Stoneham Fire Department would like to offer residents tips for responsibly stocking their emergency preparedness stockpile during Emergency Preparedness Month.
September has been declared by Gov. Charlie Baker to be Emergency Preparedness Month. Residents are encouraged to use resources provided by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to prepare themselves, their family, their property and their community for an emergency or natural disaster.
“This spring, when COVID-19 hit our communities, we saw the risk created when a large group of people stock up on supplies such as food, water and other necessities all at once, and how it creates limited supplies for others,” Chief Grafton said. “So, we’re encouraging everyone to plan ahead by making smaller purchases over time to keep a stockpile prepared, just in case.”
When creating a stockpile, residents are urged to buy items over a course of time, not in bulk ahead of an emergency. Abruptly stockpiling will limit the availability of necessary items in stores for others who may be in need.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) recommends the following for emergency preparedness stockpiles:
- A three-day supply of food and water stored in your home. Residents are encouraged to stock a week’s supply of food and water if there is enough space in the household. Residents should also choose food that doesn’t require refrigeration.
- One gallon of water per person/per day for at least three days.
- Residents should refrain from buying in bulk and opt to pick up one or two items for their stockpile every time they go to the store.
- Consider purchasing items from bulk “club” stores to help save money on supplies, or purchase items such as canned vegetables and batteries when they are on sale.
- Stockpiles should be stored in a cool, dark place that is easily accessible during an emergency.
- Supplies in your stockpile should be contained in a box or plastic bin that is tightly closed to protect its contents from humidity or pests.
- Residents should also include a first aid and emergency medical kit, personal items and important documents in their stockpile.
Residents should be mindful of not “borrowing” from their stockpile as it is for emergency use.
Additionally, the APHA recommends that residents check their emergency preparedness stockpile twice a year when residents change their clocks for daylight saving time. Residents should replace anything that is missing or expired at this time.