File this blog post under ‘no good turn goes unpunished’.
The Red Cross has organized a series of preparedness events for personnel and families on military bases, including one at Fort Belvoir earlier this summer and another at Fort Polk last month.Â The families were able to build an emergency preparedness kit and learn about emergency preparedness, according to a news release from Leann Murphy, CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Louisiana:
The goal is to provide 1,500 families at each location with basic elements of an emergency/disaster kit. The items that will be made available for military families at the event include:
ARC multipurpose lantern,Â Two LED flow sticks,Â Two emergency preparedness drawstring bags,Â Self-powered AM/FM National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio,Â Personal safety pack,Â Mini water storage system, andÂ Multi-tool.
Red Cross volunteer teams from across Louisiana will be will be available to demonstrate how to assemble a disaster kit and to provide community disaster preparedness information. Other Fort Polk agencies and units will be supporting the event as well.
A military family at an AmericanÂ Red Cross preparedness event (Photo: Daniel Cima)
Ok. Everything seems all good. To me, there is no group that deserves free preparedness supplies thanÂ military families. And, it’s obviously better now that thousands of families are better prepared as a result of this initiative. However, here’s my ‘no good turn’ BUT — the fact that they are receiving their emergency kits gratis just underlines the challenge of getting the rest of the public to purchase or put together theirs. It is not inexpensive to do. And though it is great that thousands of military families get them free, it also underscores that fact thatÂ if emergency officials want the rest of the public to do so they need to make it easier and cheaper.
As I have proposed, one way would be for the Red Cross and government officials to work with the private sector to provide discounts on emergency products as part of an emergency supply marketing initiative which would lower the price and logistical obstacles for the public. That would help a wider range of Americans — including military families — build their emergency supply kits.
The public’s interest in free or discounted preparedness supplies was underscored this morning on the Red Cross’ Facebook page where the Eton Corporation gave away 700 free “Blackout Buddies,” an emergency LED blackout flashlight that plugs and recharges straight from a wall socket, in 30 minutes. Again, this giveaway is a positive private sector/Red Cross partnership, but it also serves to underline the need.
Eton Corporation’s “Blackout Buddy”