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As Holiday Shopping Season Begins, Building A “Culture Of Preparedness…One Gift At A Time”

November 27th, 2009 · 3 Comments

With this weekend kicking off the holiday shopping season, I thought I would highlight a nice post, “The Gift of Preparedness,” by Mike Coston of Avian Flu Diary (with help from Joel from the Preparedness & Response blog) with some constructive ideas for presents as Americans head out to the stores. Coston writes:

In recent years, I’ve begun to give preparedness gifts instead of gift boxes of unidentifiable cheese products and ugly neckties. The great thing is, many of these items can be had for just a few dollars.

Three years ago I ran across a closeout on those shake flashlights. You know, the ones with the LED bulbs, that you shake for a minute and you get 10 or 15 minutes of light. No batteries needed. They normally sell for about $5 each, but these were just .77 cents at a closeout store. I bought 40 of them, and gave all but two of them away.

A couple of years ago I ran across a deal on LED headlamps, and bought about 20 of them for $2 apiece. Hands free light can be a real plus in a crisis. These too ended up in a number of people’s Christmas and birthday packs. I bought my daughter a combination windup/battery/solar AM/FM/SW radio last Christmas. Under $40, and she loves it. Uses it every day.

Every home should have a battery operated radio, yet many do not. A pair of the FRS radios, like the ones I highlighted in this blog, would make an excellent gift for many families, and can be had for less than $25.

For Christmas a couple of years back I put together some first aid kits, and distributed them to a number of friends and relatives. You can either put one together yourself, or purchase one already assembled.

During the year I keep my eye out for bargains such as these, and stock up when I find things on sale. Recently I picked up a number of LED lanterns for $3 apiece at a closeout store. They are particularly nice, and run about 40 hours on a set of AA batteries.

As promised, Joel over at Preparedness and Response came up with what I consider to be an excellent preparedness idea, giving USB flash drives to family and friends and instructions on how to back up their important papers and documents. Inexpensive USB Drives start under $10. He explains it in his essay Helping others prepare (Personal Preparedness), where he gives his rationale for going with the durable mil-spec and encrypted, but fairly pricey IronKey brand. My thanks to Joel for a terrific idea.

And lastly, I’ve put together CD’s of preparedness videos, along with copies of online manuals and preparedness guides. For the cost of a blank CD or DVD, and a little bit of my time, I’ve at least put this valuable information into my friend’s hands. I may just copy all of this info over the the USB drives I’m giving out this year instead of to CDs.

These are all useful, indeed, potentially lifesaving items, that most people simply don’t think about needing until it is too late. Giving them as gifts, instead of more traditional items, not only helps prepare the people you love and care about for an emergency, it opens the door for conversations about pandemic preparedness.

We need to cultivate a culture of preparedness in this country, and around the world. We can start doing that, one gift at a time.

FEMA’s Twitter feed also recommended this morning that you restock your basic emergency supplies while in the stores today.

If you have some other ideas for good preparedness gifts, please post them.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 EMS Blog Round Edition 25 // Nov 30, 2009 at 9:10 am

    [...] Solomon is advocating “building a culture of preparedness one gift at a time“. I completely agree with this idea, and have already started compiling a list of items that [...]

  • 2 Jamie Caplan // Dec 10, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Preparedness gifts certainly make sense and we make it easy. Our gift boxes are stuffed with supplies that people need. They are fun to receive and they all come included with safety information. I started givingpreparedness with the goal to get emergency supplies into the hands of as many people as possible.

  • 3 David Byerlee // Feb 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Preparedness is something everyody can do something about. It is important to come up with a plan in case of disaster. If you are in a hotel, count the number of rooms before you get to the exit or stairs. In case of fire and smoke you don’t want to have any nasty surprises so a quick drill is recommended. It might be handy to have a gas mask at the ready as well as a torch to see in the dark. Simple preparation is easy and might save your life.

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